29 July 2020

An explosive article featured in medical industry publication AusDoc has confirmed the Government has misrepresented the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review recommendations on changes to electrocardiogram scheduling.

The changes proposed by the Government from this Saturday will mean GPs will no longer receive a rebate for interpreting the tests, significantly impacting those in regional and rural Australia who dont have easy access to see other specialists.

AusDoc has revealed that recommendations provided to the Government to update scheduling for ECG tests were never about fee levels and they were certainly not made on the basis that GPs couldnt interpret ECGs according to the Chair of the ECG working group.

Two doctors from the MBS Review committee are now on the record confirming their views that the Medicare rebate for GPs to conduct ECGs were in fact insufficient, and that streamlining changes were intended to simplify the process so GPs would be able to interpret the tests without any additional referrals.

Labor has called on Greg Hunt to reverse these changes which would make it harder for Australians to access electrocardiograms (ECGs) after this Saturday.

For the Government to cut health care subsidies during a global health emergency is unthinkable, but to lie saying it is because of safety concerns is unbelievable.

Cardiovascular disease is Australias biggest killer, causing 27 per cent of deaths in Australia. The Government should be making it easier for Australians to check their heart health, not harder.

Experts including the Australian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and Rural Doctors Association of Australia have made clear that these ECG changes will hurt GPs and their patients.

GPs are qualified to interpret ECG tests, they should rebated for doing so, not defunded.

Labor has written to Greg Hunt to ask him to reverse these changes, and calls on him to do so urgently.