5 May 2018:
The Australian Government is making changes to Medicare-funded dermatology, allergy and immunology services, following recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce.
New restrictions on allergen testing will be introduced on 1 November 2018 to discourage testing for more than 20 allergens at a time. Allergen testing items will further be restructured into tests for environmental, food and latex, medication, and anaesthetic-related allergies. For more information go to http://health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/MBSR-Safe-and-best-practice-dermatology-allergy-and-immunology-services
The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) made a detailed submission to the MBS Review Taskforce in July 2017 which outlined concerns about the proposed restrictions, particularly regarding the potential effects on diagnosing patients with complex allergic diseases. The ASCIA submission also noted that it is likely that the increased use of skin testing reflects the epidemiology of allergic disease, with well-documented significant increases in disease prevalence (greater than the rate of population rise) in recent years. Skin prick testing is the primary diagnostic mode in allergic disease and offers the most cost-effective method to identify allergic sensitisation. Whilst receipt of this submission was acknowledged, ASCIA was not consulted further about the proposed restrictions, despite requests.
Content updated 5 May 2018