Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Advisory Committee Draft Report: Post Implementation Review of Telehealth MBS items

Closed 6 Nov 2023

Opened 25 Sep 2023


The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is a list of health professional services (items) that the Australian Government subsidises. MBS items provide patient benefits for a wide range of health services including consultations, diagnostic tests, therapy, and operations.

When changes are made to MBS items, a review is undertaken approximately 24 months after to analyse and examine the performance of the changes. This is called a post implementation review. Post implementation reviews also provide an opportunity to confirm that the item changes are achieving their intended outcomes.

On 14 November 2022, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP, requested that the MBS Review Advisory Committee (MRAC) conduct a post implementation review of telehealth services, to:

  • advise on the appropriateness of current settings for video and telephone consultations to ensure the right balance between access, quality and safety
  • review, and update if necessary, the MBS Review Taskforce Telehealth Principles to provide a framework for future consideration of MBS funded telehealth services
  • advise on current patient eligibility settings and related exemptions, noting that this work will be informed by the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce.

MBS Telehealth items have been available since 2002 but were restricted to patients in eligible areas, patients of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, and patients in residential aged care. However, due to natural disasters and public health emergencies (drought, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic), additional access and COVID-19 MBS items were created to ensure that people could still access health care when a conventional face-to-face consultation was not possible. The most significant changes at this time were the broadening of health providers and patients able to use telehealth and enabling services by phone.

Most of the telehealth items introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were made permanent on 1 January 2022, superseding many items that had been part of an iterative expansion since 2002, and were accompanied by a number of additional temporary items listed in mid-January 2022. Some of these temporary items are due to expire on 31 December 2023, after which all temporary items will cease or revert to the original MBS criterion.

On 1 March 2022, through its role under the MBS Continuous Review, the MRAC commenced its post implementation review of MBS Telehealth Items. In undertaking this work, the MRAC have developed a draft report containing several recommendations that aim to strengthen the MBS Review Taskforce Telehealth Principles and further promote equity of health access.

Read more about the MBS Continuous Review and the MBS Review Advisory Committee


Why your views matter

The MRAC seeks views from clinicians, peak bodies, consumers and other interested parties in relation to the Telehealth Post Implementation Draft Report.

The diverse perspectives, experience and knowledge of all stakeholders, including members of the community, are valued and will be considered by the MRAC in finalising its recommendations to Government.

A PDF and word version of the Telehealth Post Implementation Draft Report are available for download below (see documents under the 'Related' heading below). 

You are invited to submit your feedback on this report by 11.59PM on

6 November 2023. 

If you have any questions in relation to this consultation process, please contact

Your contribution is greatly appreciated.


What happens next

Consultation on the Telehealth Post Implementation Draft Report closed on 6 November 2023. Updates on the progress of this review can be found on the MBS Continuous Review website.



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