May Budget expected to bring long-awaited GP MRI rebates

GP REFERRALS for MRIs could finally be granted MBS rebates as the Federal Government confirms it is “reviewing” funding arrangements for radiology ahead of the release of next week’s Federal Budget.

The widely anticipated measures, long advocated by doctors’ groups, would see MRIs subsidised for children under 16.

The changes would mean young patients could more easily recoup most of the cost of the radiation-free, higher-accuracy alternative to CT scans, now seen by experts as the standard for examinations of several spinal, knee, brain and abdominal conditions.

Currently, patients of all ages can receive a rebate of $350–$430, but only when ordered by a non-GP specialist. GPs have been agitating for years to have the rebates available directly from their referrals, arguing the system is inequitable because it discourages lower-income patients from having the investigation.

When questioned about speculation