Funding Best Practice Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

The Australian Government is making changes to Medicare-funded intensive care and emergency medicine (ICEM) services to support high-value care, reflect current medical practice and improve patient experience and safety. These changes follow recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce.

Page last updated: 04 April 2019

Funding Best Practice Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (PDF 72 KB)

What are the changes?

From 1 March 2020, changes to the intensive care and emergency medicine items in the MBS will include restructuring the ICEM items that relate to Emergency Department (ED) attendance in private hospitals into three tiered base items with add-on items where additional clinical services are required.

Why are these changes being made?

While the majority of emergency and intensive care services are provided in the public sector, it is important that when this care is provided in a private setting the MBS items support the delivery of contemporary, best practice care.

The changes are the outcome of the Government agreeing to recommendations from the MBS Review Taskforce following discussion with key stakeholders. These discussions identified the key priorities needed to modernise the intensive care and emergency medicine 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 equity of access and reduce waste.

What does this mean for patients?

Patients will receive similar MBS benefits for similar services, rather than benefits that differ based on how providers interpret MBS item descriptions.

Patients receiving private ED attendance services will be consistently billed using ED attendance items, rather than a different set of items depending on whether the medical practitioner is an Emergency Medicine Specialist or otherwise.

What does this mean for providers?

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

Providers affected by these changes will receive further information closer to the implementation date.
Further detail will be available on

In this section