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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3608

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment

(Question No. 1371)

Ms O'Dwyer asked the Minister for Health, in writing, on 13 March 2013:

Will the Government (a) consider the Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) industry's proposal to adjust the Medicare rebate to ensure that until the current randomized control trial is completed, patients can receive treatment without costing the Government one extra cent beyond normal care without hyperbaric treatment; if not, why not, and (b) reconsider its position on removing the funding until the definitive study is completed.

Ms Plibersek: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) is an independent expert committee that advises me, as the Minister for Health, about whether a medical service should be publicly funded based on an assessment of its safety, effectiveness and cost effectiveness, using the best available evidence.

After considering the strength of the available evidence in relation to the safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for the treatment of

non-diabetic chronic wounds, MSAC advised that HBOT was no more clinically effective than conventional wound care and recommended that continued public funding was not justified.

The decision to remove funding for HBOT for chronic non-diabetic wounds from the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) is consistent with the Government's commitment to evidence based decision making. The applicants for HBOT services have been provided with multiple opportunities spread over a decade, to meet the criteria for ongoing Medicare funding and have been unsuccessful on every occasion.

HBOT continues to receive Medicare funding for a range of other indications, including soft tissue radionecrosis, diabetic wounds, and decompression illness. Medicare rebates are also available for attendance and surgery services for patients with chronic wounds.

The applicants for HBOT services are able to resubmit an application to MSAC at any time.