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New Medicare items.



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MEDIA RELEASE Minister for Health and Ageing

Tony Abbott MHR

1 May 2007 ABB045/07

New Medicare items

New Medicare items will commence today to help couples who undergo Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and people with diabetes.

Three new Medicare items will be introduced for ICSI and surgical sperm retrieval at a cost of $28 million over five years. Around 8,000 couples a year are expected to benefit from these new funded items.

In November 2006, the Government announced its response to the Independent Review of Assisted Reproductive Technology. Part of the response was a commitment to introduce an MBS item for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, which patients have previously undertaken at their own expense. This followed an assessment of it by the Medical Services Advisory Committee for safety, effectiveness and cost effectiveness.

The Government recognises that male infertility is a significant factor in couples seeking assisted reproductive techniques and that ICSI is an important treatment option for couples who may not otherwise be able to achieve a pregnancy.

Around 17,000 patients with type 2 diabetes will benefit from new Medicare items that enable them to claim for group allied health services provided by dietitians, diabetes educators and exercise physiologists.

Patients who are being managed under a GP Management Plan can receive a Medicare rebate of $60 for one individual assessment and $15 per session for up to eight group service sessions each calendar year. They will need a referral from their GP.

Patients who attend group services under this new group approach can still receive the five individual allied health services presently available each calendar year for those with chronic conditions and complex care needs.

This group services initiative is expected to cost around $13 million over four years and was developed in consultation with the Dietitians Association of Australia, Australian Diabetes Educators Association, Australian Association for Exercise and Sport Science and GP groups.

Further information about the new Medicare items for allied health group services for people with type 2 diabetes can be found at www.health.gov.au/epc .

For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.