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The Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce has released the recommendations by the Optometry Services Clinical Committee (OSCC) and Optometry Australia is pleased with the findings.

Optometry Australia’s General Manager of Member Services and Optometry Advancement, Skye Cappuccio said that OSCC’s review of 32 items relating to optometric consultations on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) looks positive.

“We made a series of recommendations to the OSCC and are pleased to now have the opportunity to put our perspective on their recommendations to the MBS Taskforce.

“Overall, we are pleased that a number of our key recommendations have been reflected by the OSCC,” Skye said.

These include:

  • reinstatement of biennial initial comprehensive examinations for middle-aged Australians
  • amalgamation of items 10912 and 10913 and the removal of the requirement for patients to have been previously seen in the same practice
  • enabling items 10940 and 10941 for visual fields to be performed by a ‘non-clinical’ member of practice on behalf of an optometrist.

“Optometry Australia believes these are important amendments necessary to bring the schedule up-to-date and ensure best access for patients to a sustainable system.

“However, we do believe further amendments are needed to fully modernise the optometry schedule and we will be petitioning for these before the MBS Taskforce tables its final recommendations to the Minister for Health and the Government, for endorsement and implementation,” Skye said.

Optometry Australia will meet with the MBS Taskforce in March to urge consideration of these further reforms.

We will also urge both major parties as part of its pre-election campaigns to accept the Taskforce’s key recommendations, and to move to quickly implement two yearly rebates for comprehensive exam for middle-aged Australians.

OSCC was convened in October 2018 and in December, tabled its recommendations to the Review Taskforce.

“I would like to congratulate Committee Chair Adj. Ass. Prof Phil Anderton and the committee for progressing these important reforms on behalf of optometrists and their patients.

“I would also like to thank our internal MBS Review advisory, chaired by Jason Holland, for their sound guidance in developing the recommendations Optometry Australia made to OSCC,” she said.

Download a copy of the OSCC‘s recommendations here.

A review of 5,700 items on the MBS has been underway since 2015.

MBS review advisory group - 600 x 297

MBS Review Advisory Group (L-R): Michelle Waugh, Garry Fitzpatrick, Jason Holland, Mario Basso, William Trinh, Peter Murphy, Christine Nguyen, Stuart Aitchison, Simon Hanna, Isabelle Jalbert and Paula Katalinic. Not pictured: Paul Graveson.

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