Health Department defers MBS item advice to doctors’ groups

GPs in doubt over how to interpret the MBS should be calling the RACGP and the AMA, according to advice from a senior Health Department official.

The news has come as a surprise to both professional bodies, who have argued that providing such information has never been part of their role.

The advice was given to Queensland GP Dr Scott Masters by Rose Ross, the director of the Medicare Integrity Section within the Department’s Medicare Benefits Branch, after Dr Masters requested advice on the appropriateness of claiming several MBS items.

Ms Ross’s advice was based on the fact that health authorities cannot provide doctors with binding advice. In an email to Dr Masters, Ms Ross told him to instead seek such direction from the RACGP or AMA, as “neither the Department nor Medicare Australia can provide binding advice on matters relating to the clinical relevance of the service”.

“This is a matter for your peers