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PCEHR - more unpaid work for GPs?

Last week’s announcement from the Health Minister about Medicare rebates for preparing shared health summaries for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) raised more questions than answers. AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said it is still unclear whether Medicare rebates will be available for this new clinical service that GPs are being asked to provide for their patients.

02 Apr 2012

Last week’s announcement from the Health Minister about Medicare rebates for preparing shared health summaries for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) raised more questions than answers.

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said it is still unclear whether Medicare rebates will be available for this new clinical service that GPs are being asked to provide for their patients.

“The Government has acknowledged that preparing shared health summaries with patients will require considerable extra work for GPs, but there is no clarity that the longer consultation items will apply to cover this extra work,” Dr Hambleton said.

“We have been told by officials that there is no new money to cover this work.  It all has to be covered under the existing MBS items.

“And we understand that there will be no changes to the item descriptors.

“So the only clarity we have about this announcement is that GPs can use existing items but do more work in the allotted time to prepare shared health summaries and take a detailed medical history.

“This simply raises more questions.

“For example, if preparing a shared health summary as part of a standard 20 minute (Level B) consultation stretches it out to 30 minutes, will the longer Level C item apply?

“Similarly, if the more complex Level C consultation stretches out to more than 40 minutes, will the Level D item apply?

“We believe the Government should create specific new items for PCEHR work and we will be having more to say on this soon.

“For now, there is no evidence that GPs will be properly funded and supported by the Government to assist patients obtain the benefits promised by the PCEHR.

“The AMA supports the PCEHR and wants to help make it work, but GPs must be supported for the extra clinical service they will be providing their patients.”

JF


Published: 02 Apr 2012