Improving access to renal medicine services

The Australian Government is making changes to Medicare-funded renal medicine items, following recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce.

Page last updated: 29 April 2018

Improving access to renal medicine services (PDF 222 KB)

What are the changes?

Improve access to renal dialysis in remote areas

To improve access, from 1 November 2018, the Government is introducing a new MBS item to provide funding for the delivery of dialysis by nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners and Aboriginal health workers in a primary care setting in remote areas.

Other changes

The Government’s changes to the MBS also include:
  • amendment to the item descriptor for the removal of an indwelling Tenckhoff peritoneal catheter (item 13110) to align it with the item descriptor for the insertion of a Teckhoff peritoneal catheter (item 13109); and
  • removal of item 13112 for the insertion of a temporary catheter for peritoneal dialysis.

Why are these changes being made?

Access to dialysis services is limited in very remote areas of Australia. The majority of people in these areas are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and have to relocate to urban areas to receive treatment.

These changes were recommended by the independent MBS Review Taskforce, following a comprehensive review of the MBS items by clinicians, health system experts and consumers.

What does this mean for patients?

Having dialysis funding available for services in very remote areas will provide greater access for patients, leading to better attendance for dialysis and improved health outcomes.

This change will also help address the economic, cultural and social impacts on Indigenous Australian renal patients by providing greater access for these services on country.

The removal of item 13112 will not have an impact on patients as the procedure is no longer part of contemporary clinical practice.

What does this mean for providers?

The introduction of the very remote dialysis item will support the provision of these services by nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners and Aboriginal health workers in remote areas of Australia.

The amendment of item 13110 to align with the descriptor of 13109 will increase consistency across the MBS and clarify the service for providers.

Providers affected by these changes will receive further information closer to the implementation date of 1 November 2018.