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Up, up and away: The growth of after-hours MBS claims

de Graaff, B ORCID: 0000-0003-0743-9561, Nelson, M ORCID: 0000-0001-9941-7161 and Neil, A ORCID: 0000-0002-1344-6672 2017 , 'Up, up and away: The growth of after-hours MBS claims' , Australian Family Physician, vol. 46, no. 6 , pp. 407-411 .

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Background: Media reports suggest that growth in urgent, after-hours Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) claims has coincided with an increasing number of after-hours medical deputising services (AHMDSs). This article assesses these claims in the context of an increasing presence of AHMDSs.Methods: Retrospective analysis of MBS claims data for general practitioner (GP) after-hours items from 2010–11 to 2015–16 was conducted. The Tasmanian experience is presented as a case study.Results: The number of claims was greatest for MBS item number 597 (urgent, sociable after-hours consultations), increasing by 170% over the study period. For jurisdictions with dates identified for the introduction of AHMDSs, dramatic growth in per capita claims were observed: 1270% for the Australian Capital Territory, 485% for Tasmania and 150% for the Northern Territory. For Tasmania, no decrease in emergency department presentations was observed.Discussion: Rapid increases in after-hours claims for MBS item number 597 have coincided with the introduction of AHMDSs in three jurisdictions. The impact on patient outcomes and equitable resource distribution requires attention.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:de Graaff, B and Nelson, M and Neil, A
Keywords: Medicare, after-hours, value in health
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Family Physician
Publisher: Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
ISSN: 0300-8495
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

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