Radiation Oncology Health Program Grant

In 2015, as part of the Australian Government’s Healthier Medicare initiative, the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce was established to undertake a review of the entire MBS to ensure it reflects current best clinical practice and promotes the provision of health services that improve health outcomes.

Commonwealth funding for radiation oncology is provided through the MBS for medical services and the Radiation Oncology Health Program Grants (ROHPG) Scheme. The ROHPG Scheme was introduced in 1988 to provide funding towards capital costs incurred by radiation oncology providers for major radiation oncology equipment. The Scheme has not been formally reviewed since and due to the linkages between radiation oncology MBS items and the ROHPG Scheme, the Department is initiating a review of the ROHPG Scheme and is seeking stakeholder input.

The formal review of the ROHPG Scheme being undertaken in 2016, aims “to ensure that Commonwealth funding of radiation therapy equipment in Australia is contemporary, fair and equitable”.

MTAA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the recent review of the ROHPG Scheme. In this submission, MTAA provides comments and feedback on the following key areas of the review:

  •  Benefits and limitations of the Scheme
  •  Purpose of the Scheme
  •  Potential alternative funding models
  •  Determining eligible equipment
  •  Linking funding to quality measures (rather than throughput)
  •  Billing practice complexity
  •  Existing supply/potential saturation of services.