Latest news | 06 Jul 2021

Important Update to MBS Item Numbers For Eating Disorders


From July 1st, 2021, certain GP and other medical practitioner (OMP) telephone MBS item numbers will no longer be available to access under Eating Disorder Management Plans. Moving forward, an individual will only be able to access item numbers with a GP or OMP via video conference or in person.

The broad range of telephone services established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be replaced with a smaller number of MBS items as follows:

  • A short consultation item (less than six minutes) for straightforward care, such as repeat prescriptions and diagnostic referrals; and
  • A longer telephone consultation item (six minutes and over) for more complex attendances.

Longer telephone items for mental health treatment will continue to be available until 31 December 2021, to ensure timely access to essential mental health services.

We understand that this may be difficult news for some people but want to reiterate that video conferencing and in person item numbers are still very much available.

For further information on this change to eating disorder item numbers head to:

(Please Note: the new telephone items for GPs and OMPs do not trigger patient access to Medicare subsidised follow up services)


What does this mean for providers?

The temporary MBS telehealth items allow providers to deliver essential health care services to their patients while ensuring continued quality is provided by a medical practitioner who knows the patient’s medical history.

Providers do not need to be in their regular practice to provide telehealth services, but they must ensure that the established clinical relationship, as defined in the MBS, exists before providing telehealth services to their patient. Only a face-to-face attendance with the patient in the 12 months prior to the date of service of the proposed telehealth consultation satisfies this requirement, with limited exemptions. Attendance via telehealth (video or telephone) does not satisfy the requirement of established clinical relationship.

Providers should use their provider number for their primary location, and must provide safe services in accordance with normal professional standards.

Temporary COVID-19 telehealth MBS services can substitute for current face-to-face consultations that are available under the MBS when the service/s cannot be provided due to COVID-19 considerations. The MBS telehealth items have the same clinical requirements as the corresponding face-to-face consultation items.

Rebates for services provided by GPs and OMPs are paid at 85% of the telehealth item fees – these fee amounts have been increased so that the Medicare rebates paid for the new GP and OMP telehealth services are at the same level as the rebates paid for the equivalent face-to-face services. (Due to the urgency of the new telehealth arrangements, the Department of Health has not been able to amend the legislation that establishes 100% rebates for GP/OMP services.)

For additional information on the use of telehealth items, please refer to the Provider Frequently Asked Questions document available on MBSOnline.


Get support

If this announcement has brought up any uncomfortable feelings, please reach out to our Helpline for support, on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673), via webchat or e-mail