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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Minister of Health announces final decision and next steps on removal of General Use Items (GUIs) from Prostheses List

Health Industry Hub | June 14, 2023 |

In a significant development regarding the future of General Use Items (GUIs) on the Prostheses List (PL), the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP, has finally announced their retention on the PL for an additional 12 months. This decision comes after extensive consultations on the bundling of benefits for GUIs following their scheduled removal from the list on July 1, 2023.

Last week, key stakeholders including the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA), Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO), and the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) had discovered that the 1st July deadline had been shifted, although no formal announcement had been made by the Department of Health.

The Minister’s decision and formal announcement was influenced by the sector, which emphasised the need for a minimum of 12 months to ensure a smooth transition. This additional time will allow stakeholders to make necessary arrangements such as contract negotiations, adjustments to internal business processes, system changes, and resource allocation.

Furthermore, this decision aims to ensure that privately insured patients continue to have access to GUIs without any adverse impacts. The Minister assured that during this 12-month period, no transitional arrangements, including bundling arrangements, will be implemented. Instead, stakeholders are urged to utilise this time to work on necessary adjustments to fully implement the changes by July 1, 2024.

However, it’s important to note that a further reduction of 10% in benefits for GUIs on the Prostheses List is scheduled to take effect on November 1, 2023. This reduction aims to bring the benefits closer to the lowest public benchmark price.

Stakeholders must also be aware that the Department will not be accepting new applications for listing GUIs on the Prostheses List due to the impracticality of considering them within the given timeframes. The current application period will remain closed until September 11, 2023. Any applications received from that date onward will be considered for the July 2024 PL update, which is when GUIs listed on Part D of the Prostheses List will be removed.

The retention of GUIs on the Prostheses List for another year provides an opportunity for stakeholders to adapt and prepare for the upcoming changes. Privately insured patients can be reassured that their access to GUIs will be maintained throughout this transition period.

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