Ensuring Appropriate Use of Neurosurgery and Neurology Services

The Australian Government is making changes to Medicare-funded neurosurgery and neurology services to support high-value care and 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: 12 March 2020

Ensuring Appropriate Use of Neurosurgery and Neurology Services (PDF 72 KB)

What are the changes?

From 1 July 2020, there will be changes to MBS items for neurosurgery and neurology services that support the delivery of best practice care for patients. These changes will promote high-value use of electroencephalogram, nerve conduction studies, electromyography and central nervous system evoked responses. A new item will also be introduced to provide patient rebates for awake craniotomy.

A range of other changes will be made to simplify the MBS by consolidating neurosurgical services that are commonly done together into a single Medicare item. The patient rebate for a small number of complex brain surgery items will be increased to better reflect the complexity of the service.

Why are these changes being made?

The changes to neurosurgery and neurology services aim to improve quality of care, encourage high value care and reflect current clinical practice.

The changes are the outcome of the Government agreeing to recommendations from the MBS Review Taskforce following extensive consultation and discussion with key stakeholders. These discussions identified the key priorities needed to modernise the neurosurgery and neurology portions of the MBS.

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 access and reduce waste.

What does this mean for patients?

Patients will benefit from the changes through improved patient safety and quality of care. The changes also help ensure that MBS funded services represent value for the patient and the community.

The changes made to consolidate many surgical services into a complete medical service will simplify the MBS, making it easier to understand and support more consistent billing for patients.

What does this mean for providers?

Providers will benefit as Medicare funding will align with contemporary clinical practice and they will have a more appropriate fee to reflect the complexity of the procedure.

The changes made to consolidate many surgical services into complete medical services will simplify the MBS and will support more uniform billing across patients.

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

Further detail will be available on www.mbsonline.gov.au

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