Dismay MRI rebate is not for adult test

THE Federal Government has been slammed over its long-awaited MBS rebates for GP-ordered MRIs, with experts saying the announcement was placing the issue “on the backburner” by making adults wait 2.5 years before qualifying for Medicare subsidies.

Last week’s Budget included a $104.4 million MRI package comprising $75.5 million in rebates for tests ordered by GPs over two years. From May 2012, patients under 16 will be eligible for rebates for “clinically appropriate” GP-ordered tests. Patients over 16 will gain access from 1 November 2013, “contingent on the development and dissemination of clinical guidelines”.

RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson labelled the Government’s move a token gesture, saying it had also failed to specify which GP-ordered scans would get subsidies when the rebates come into effect for over-16s, despite taking advice from the industry for the past year.

Professor Jackson