Sunday 12 November, 2006

Common MBS item numbers for general practitioners

Posted in General Practice, Michael Tam, Resources at 17:32 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly


MBS Item Numbers for GPs

A one page list of the most commonly used MBS item numbers used in general practice. (Last updated: 12 November 2006) [57 Kb]

For better or worse, general practitioners who chose to run a bulk billing practice must wade through the arcane tome that is the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Despite Medicare Australia’s attempts to make this volume “user friendly” with copious indices, colour coding and cross-referencing, it is nevertheless futile using it to find an item number on-the-fly. Although the MBS has now been released on-line, I still find it next to useless given its primitive search capabilities.

The problem is that the numbers themselves make no sense and each item in the MBS has been categorised by a bean counter and written in legalese. You’ve just excised a basal cell carcinoma? If you don’t know the number, it will take you the next 10 minutes working out which of the 33 items that refer to BCC excision is in fact the correct one.

The fact is, most general practitioners wouldn’t commonly use more than just a few item numbers regularly. I’ve created a one page list of what would be commonly used item numbers that are used by GPs. It is slightly biased towards the sort of practice I perform (for example, I don’t do health assessments or most SIPs).



  1. Judith Barclay said,

    i am a clinic nurse at Balgo Western Australia Could you please advise me of the item number required for the nurse reviewing chronic disease management careplan/or any information related to it much thanks Judith Barclay

  2. Michael Tam said,

    Dear Judith,

    There are no specific numbers for nursing reviews of care plans. However, it is acceptable for a practice nurse to help in the preparation of a care plan / team care arrangement as well as in their reviews. The same is true (e.g.) in health assessments.

    For example, if a patient already has a GP Management Plan (MBS item 721) and Team Care Arrangement (723) in place, then I can see a role for a practice nurse to review with the patient the chronic care plans every three months. The collection of data as well as a nursing review can then help the General Practitioner expedite and improve the quality of his or her actual consultation with the patient. In this setting, the usual review item numbers can be charged after the GP has completed the reviews (review of GPMP = 725, review of TCA = 727).

    Best regards.

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