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Clinical guidance for MRI referral

Introduction

Background

The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) is phasing in new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)–supported referrals for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) requested by general practitioners (GPs).

From November 2013, GPs will be able to request MRI studies of three anatomical regions with six clinical indications for patients aged 16 years and over. The regions and indications are:

  • head – unexplained seizure(s) and chronic headache with suspected intracranial pathology
  • cervical spine – cervical radiculopathy and cervical spine trauma
  • knee – acute anterior cruciate ligament and acute meniscal tear.

To aid decision making for MRI, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has been tasked with producing clinical guidance material for the specific Medicare indications. This guidance has been developed by GPs for GPs, in consultation with radiologists and other specialists as appropriate. The guidance aims to support evidence-based decision making, reduce inappropriate referral and improve patient outcomes.

These new MBS items supplement existing Medicare-eligible requests by GPs for MRI scans for patients under the age of 16, released November 2012.

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