Frequently asked questions about MBS items 871 and 872

What meetings do the items apply to?

The items apply to discussions during a multidisciplinary team meeting held for the purpose of developing a cancer treatment plan. The items should not be billed against community or discharge case conferences. Meetings may be face-to-face or held via teleconference or videoconference.

What is the minimum number of practitioners who should be involved in the meeting?

The multidisciplinary meeting must involve at least four medical practitioners (including the lead practitioner). Participants must be from different areas of medical practice and may include general practice. Allied health practitioners must also be present.

How many people can claim the item for one patient?

Only one medical practitioner can claim item 871 for each patient discussed at the multidisciplinary case conference. There is no limit to the number of treating medical practitioners who can claim item 872 for each patient discussed.

How many patients can be claimed for at one meeting?

There is no limit to the number of patients who can be discussed during a multidisciplinary meeting. However, discussion about each patient discussed at the multidisciplinary meeting should last at least 10 minutes.

Which patients do the items apply to?

The items apply to private patients being treated in public or private hospitals or in the community who have a malignancy of a solid organ or tissue, or a systemic cancer such as a leukaemia or a lymphoma. The items do not apply to patients whose only cancer is a non-melanoma skin cancer.

How many times can a patient be billed?

In general it is expected that a patient will be discussed at no more than two case conferences each year. Therefore it is unlikely that an individual patient would be billed more than twice in one year.

What is the schedule fee?

– The schedule fee for item 871 is $80.30 per patient

– The schedule fee for item 872 is $37.40 per patient

How should the patient be billed?

For a patient to be billed by the lead and participating medical practitioners, the patient must understand that the meeting will take place and which practitioners will be billing them (see Gaining patient consent).

Each billing practitioner should send a separate bill to the patient unless the patient signs a Medicare form for bulk billing. Medicare forms cannot be signed until after the multidisciplinary meeting has taken place and the other requirements included in the item descriptor have been met. If the post-conference discussion is conducted with the patient by telephone, the lead practitioner or designate will need to arrange for the patient to visit the hospital and sign the form. If this is not possible due to issues of distance, it is the responsibility of the lead practitioner to make arrangements with the patient to sign the form.