New liver Medicare rebates in Australia
ARGANZ, acting on behalf of RANZCR, has been the lead applicant campaigning for a liver MRI rebate. After an extensive process this has now been approved for two patient populations. The first is patients with colorectal carcinoma and suspected liver metastases for the purpose of characterisation or interventional planning. The second patient population is patients with chronic liver disease (Childs-Pugh A&B) with known or suspected hepatocellular carcinoma and a liver lesion over 10mm. An additional item number has been created to co-claim hepatobiliary contrast agents, recognising that these are considerably more expensive for providers. The item numbers are likely to become active in May 2019.
Unfortunately the application for liver MRI for patients with suspected focal nodular hyperplasia/adenoma was rejected by MSAC as it was viewed to be not economically viable, despite the higher accuracy and absence of radiation.
Further information regarding the approved item number and the proposed item descriptors can be found in the Public Summary document at http://msac.gov.au/internet/msac/publishing.nsf/Content/1372.1-public