Federal Budget 2013
The Government announced that indexation of the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) fees, usually applied in November of each year, will not be applied until 1 July 2014. Freezing indexation until 1 July 2014 is estimated to save the Government $664.3 million over four years.
“The delaying of indexation of MBS fees will result in a decline in bulk billing and ultimately the transfer of costs to patients and health services, particularly regional and remote services,” said Scott Hartley, Health Industry Lead at Grant Thornton Australia.
“The demand for health services and the associated costs are on the rise and it is unlikely that doctors will absorb these costs without adequate indexation of MBS fees. It is inevitable that these costs will be passed on to patients.”
“Regional Hospitals that rely on Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs) to deliver services will also be significantly impacted as they will be required to pay more to attract VMOs to regional and remote areas without adequate indexation of MBS fees. It is effectively a back handed cut to Regional Hospital budgets.”
“A longer term view on controlling health care costs is required and needs to consider a range of initiatives, including a review of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, evaluation of diagnostic practices and service delivery models.”
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