Western Victoria PHN urges government to reconsider Medicare changes

Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN) urges the government to reconsider the implementation of changes to Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for electrocardiography (ECG) from 1 August.

With unprecedented demand and pressure on GPs and the wider health care sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic, any review to MBS items should be considered at a later, more appropriate date.

WVPHN is concerned that patients are not seeing their GPs for regular health check-ups due to potential COVID-19 exposure and social distancing laws. Making GPs ineligible to receive rebates for providing a diagnostic report from an ECG puts up another barrier for patients. Such costs could deter individuals from seeking timely medical advice from their GP, delaying the detection of heart problems.

We are especially concerned that these changes to MBS rebates will make it especially difficult for rural patients who may find it difficult to get local follow-up care after a heart attack. We need to break down barriers, including cost where we can, so people can receive the care they need, when they need it.