Physios call for right to refer and prescribe

Researchers from Griffith University who conducted the analysis – based on 2013 Medicare data and results from an online survey sent to physiotherapists about referral practices – estimate a net saving to the MBS of more than $13 million per year and a net saving to patients’ out-of-pocket costs of more than $2.5 million per year if referral criteria were broadened to include physiotherapists.

While physiotherapists are the fifth largest group of registered primary healthcare professionals in Australia, current legislation and Medicare funding barriers mean they must refer patients to a GP in order for the patients to qualify for a Medicare rebate – leading to multiple out-of-pocket costs to the patient and a delay in treatment and care, the researchers claim.

“Some patients do not have enough funds to cover multiple out-of-pocket costs and either delay or do not follow through in their continuum of treatment and care, which can