UPDATE: GP referred MRI of the knee to be restricted to patients under the age of 50 years old from 1 November 2018.
You will be aware that AMSIG has been involved in the MBS review of MRI of the knee. I received notification of Minister Hunt's decision to enact the recommendation from the MBS task force to restrict GP referred MRI of the knee to patients under the age of 50 years old from 1 November 2018.
This is a recommendation that AMSIG has strongly opposed throughout the review process. We have made submissions as such to the MBS review and written to Minister Hunt reflecting our opposition to this decision as it is not based on evidence, it is ageist and discriminatory and will lead to an increase of substitute imaging of the knee (such CT examinations, bone scans and ultrasounds) which have a lesser diagnostic value, increased cost and expose the patient to unnecessary radiation.
Summary of changes:
- Patients 49 years and under will be eligible for GP referred MRI of the knee as per the current referral criteria.
- Patients 50 years old and above will now require a specialist referral for MRI of the knee.
- The requirement for children under 16 years to have an x-ray before MRI of the knee will be removed.
- GPs will not be able to request more than three knee MRIs per annum for an individual patient (aged 16-49) – this is in line with the limit for specialists.
- New items are being introduced for CT and X-ray of the knee – these will enable better monitoring of service patterns. There is no change to eligibility or rebates for these services.
The College issued this statement in response to this decision:
The Government had committed to evidenced based review of the MBS. We believe that this outcome of this review is not evidence based. Involvement in these reviews takes a lot of time, effort and resources. We will discuss this at our AGM this weekend.
AMSIG will continue to work with RANZCR, ADIA and consumer groups in responding to this decision.
Dr Sanjay Dhupelia