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Monday, 30 November 2015
Page: 13991

Medicare Benefits Schedule

Dear Dr Jensen

Thank you for your letter of 19 October 2015 regarding petition number 1092/1588, "Medicare Benefits Schedule optometry items and reinstatement of optometric Medicare Benefits Schedule indexation". The petition was considered by the Standing Committee on Petitions and presented by the Hon Anna Burke MP, Member for Chisholm, to the House of Representatives on 19 October 2015.

The petition was provided by the peak professional body for optometry, Optometry Australia in relation to changes to optometry services which were introduced as part of the 2014-15 Budget.

The Government is committed to ensuring all Australians have access to high quality, appropriate eye care. As part of this commitment, the Government believes that reforms to Medicare rebateable optometry services are necessary but cannot be achieved in isolation. To that end, the Government has established a Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce and a Primary Health Care Advisory Group to consider how Medicare services, including optometry services, can be aligned with contemporary clinical evidence and improve health outcomes for patients. These reforms are an ongoing process.

The Government believes that the Budget changes to optometry services will not impact significantly on patient access or the affordability of services. My department will continue to monitor Medicare claims and work with optometrists and consumers to evaluate the impact of the changes and consider future reforms as necessary.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

from the Minister for Health, Ms Ley