Government Changes to Medicare Item Numbers for Cardiac Testing Services
With just a few days notice, the Department of Health introduced very significant changes to the Medicare funding platform for cardiac testing services. The changes came into effect on August 1, 2020.
The changes have been recommended by the MBS review task force in an effort to ensure that patients receive appropriate ‘evidence based care’ and reduce cost to the health care system related to ‘low value testing’.
Changes have been made to the Medicare eligibility criteria for all routine cardiac testing provided by Western Cardiology including:
- Ambulatory ECG (Holter Monitor and Event Monitor)
- Exercise stress testing
- Stress echocardiography
The Government has now published listed indications for cardiac testing, which will need to be met for patients to be eligible for a Medicare rebate for their testing. The details are available at the Medicare website at:
For simplified summary please click here.
Perhaps the biggest impact will be on the applicability of repeat/serial testing. For example, a patient can only have a GP-referred echocardiograph once every 2 years. Importantly however, the time restrictions on testing are prospective (applying from 01/08/2020). We don’t think the changes will have too much effect on the care of your patients over the initial phase.
You can continue to refer your patients for cardiac testing to Western Cardiology as before. However we may need to seek further information from you to ensure that your patient is suitable for a Medicare subsidy. This will ensure that the cost to your patient for our high quality service is minimised at all times.
No doubt some questions will arise over the next few weeks. Our team are well equipped to assist you where necessary to understand how the changes affect your patients.
If you have any queries please contact Western Cardiology:
Our team of cardiologists would also be happy to discuss any queries that you may have.
With best regards
Dr Paul Stobie
Chairperson, Western Cardiology