Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Update


AASW MBS Review Working Group

AASW has established a Working Group to specifically provide input and advice on the Association’s strategy and submissions to the ongoing MBS Review. The Working Group includes representatives from the MH Reference Group, the National Board, AASW Branch Management Committee Presidents, Australian College of Social Work, AMHSWs.  

The Working Group has met to consider the next phase of the AASW’s representation to the Taskforce. We have also written to the Health Minister Greg Hunt, seeking a meeting to discuss the Review and the recommendations of the Taskforce.

We understand that the Review of Medicare will be ongoing in 2019, with issues that were raised in the review of the mental health items to be considered by separate Taskforces:

  • The tiered approach to rebates
  • who can be admitted under Medicare, and
  • consideration of new items

The Social Policy and Advocacy team are currently finalising a report from the AMHSW survey, in consultation with the MBS Review Working Group, and it will be available shortly.

Announcement on Medicare items for Eating Disorders

On 9 December the Prime Minister in conjunction with Minister for Health, Greg Hunt announced an $115 million package for Australians living with an eating disorder to access treatment under Medicare, and is expected to assist around 1 million people

The new Medicare Benefits Scheme support for eating disorders will commence on 1 November 2019, and will include:

  • A dedicated single Medicare Benefits Scheme item number for eating disorder treatment for those with severe and complex illness, delivering up to 60 Medicare funded sessions of treatment – 40 psychotherapeutic and 20 dietetic across the range of eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and atypical presentations
  • Diagnosis by a GP and mental health practitioner recognizing that these psychiatric illnesses have a significant physical impact and integrated treatment is essential.

We believe these services will fall under Better Access and can be delivered by AMHSWs who are registered with Medicare.