$200 million to reduce out of pocket costs for scans

The Liberal National Government will help reduce the out of pocket medical expenses for Australian families needing life-saving scans like ultrasounds and X-rays with an almost $200 million investment.

For the first time in 20 years the indexation of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items will be expanded to all ultrasound and diagnostic radiology services over three years from July 1 2020.

This means that the Medicare rebates for about 90 per cent of all diagnostic imaging services will now be indexed.

This includes X-rays for fractures, mammograms, pregnancy ultrasounds, echocardiograms, angiograms, image guided procedures and CT scans for the diagnosis and management of cancer.

More than nine million Australian patients use diagnostic imaging services each year.

Our plan for a strong economy continues to deliver record funding for essential health services that saves lives. We are delivering what Labor hasn’t.

This investment will support for patients needing these important diagnostic services and encourage diagnostic imaging providers to maintain or increase their level of bulk billing.

It will reduce the burden on Australian families when a family member needs diagnostic imaging scans.

Diagnostic imaging for every child who breaks an arm, older Australians with broken hips and even a simple broken finger will receive a higher rebate.

Ultrasounds for pregnant women, people needing cardiac ultrasounds and ultrasound guided procedures will also receive higher rebates.

This announcement comes after the recently announced expansion of Medicare eligibility for an additional 50 MRI units across Australia at an estimated cost of $375 million over four years, benefiting over 800,000 Australians.

31 of the 50 have now been announced and I am pleased to today announce nine MRI licences for Victoria. They include:

    • Northern Hospital, Epping
    • MIA Group, Heidelberg
    • MIA Radiology, Lilydale
    • Diagnostic Care, Keilor East
    • Royal Women’s Hospital, Parkville
    • Holmsglen Hospital, Moorabbin
    • St John of God Hospital Berwick
    • Imaging @ Olympic Park, Melbourne
    • Cabrini Hospital, Brighton

An MRI is a commonly used medical scan which gives a detailed view of the soft tissues of the body such as muscles, ligaments, brain tissue, discs and blood vessels.

It is used by doctors to diagnose and monitor number of different medical conditions including cancer and trauma or sporting injuries. These scans save and protect lives.

We have also recently added important new diagnostic imaging services to the Medicare such as MRI of the prostate, liver and three dimensional breast tomosynthesis for the diagnosis of breast cancer.

This is in addition to the indexation of the MBS items for computed tomography, fluoroscopy, mammography and interventional radiology, also commencing from 1 July 2020, announced in the 2017-18 Budget.

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