Modernising endocrinology services

The Australian Government is introducing changes to Medicare-funded endocrinology services, to ensure patients are receiving procedures in line with current best practice. These changes follow recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce.

Page last updated: 29 April 2018

Modernising endocrinology services (PDF 207 KB)

What are the changes?

Modernise endocrinology surgery

From 1 November 2018, the explanatory notes and item descriptors for parathyroid, thyroid and adrenal gland surgery are being changed to promote current best practice.

Clinical guidelines suggest the removal of the entire thyroid when treating an overactive thyroid is the most appropriate course of treatment. The items are being changed to encourage this practice.

The four items for parathyroid surgery are being amended to improve their ease of use and promote best practice.

The four adrenal gland surgery items will be amended into two items to help ensure consistent billing and treatment practices.

Other changes

Synacthen tests are used to assess adrenal gland functions. The use of this item has increased faster than expected, indicating that patients may be being over-tested.

To encourage best clinical practice, Synacthen testing items will be changed to require a basal cortisol quantitation test in the first instance, as is clinically appropriate. Some exceptions will apply.

A number of obsolete items will also be removed from the MBS.

Why are these changes being made?

The changes were recommended by the MBS Review Taskforce following an extensive period of consultation.

The Taskforce is conducting a clinician-led review, and makes recommendations to the Government on how the MBS can be modernised to improve patient safety, support equity of access and reduce waste.

The changes to endocrinology services will promote best practice and high-value care for patients.

What does this mean for patients?

Patients will benefit from endocrinology services that are high-value, aligned with clinical best practice and consistently billed.

Patients will not be affected by removed or consolidated items.

What does this mean for providers?

Providers will benefit from a clear schedule of MBS items that are aligned with best practice.

Providers affected by these changes will receive further information closer to the implementation date.