Interpreter use in general practice - Information for GPs

Billing for consultations involving interpreters

Last revised: 02 Aug 2023

Billing for consultations involving interpreters

In June 2022, the Department of Health and Aged Care published a fact sheet which provides information on how to account for time taken to communicate with patients when claiming time-tiered MBS items.

When claiming for time-tiered MBS items, the total duration includes the time required to communicate effectively with the patient. Should more time than usual be required to effectively communicate with a patient, it is considered reasonable to claim a longer attendance item than might otherwise be expected for the service. This applies to both face-to-face and telehealth services.

In such situations, medical practitioners and other providers should record in the consultation notes why the additional time was required. For example, ‘consultation extended due to use of interpreter’, and if relevant citing the TIS job number.

This fact sheet was developed by the RACGP in response to member enquiries about billing longer consultation items when an interpreter is required. GPs can be assured that they are billing correctly if they need to spend more time with a patient requiring an interpreter, provided they meet all requirements in the relevant item descriptor.

Enquiries regarding billing rules and MBS item interpretation should be directed to askmbs@health.gov.au.

Longer GP consultations

Longer consultations are generally considered those lasting 20 minutes or more. The relevant MBS item numbers for standard GP attendances are outlined below.

MBS item numbers for longer GP consultations (as of July 2023)

Item number Consultation type Description Rebate
36 Face-to-face Level C 20–40 minutes $79.70
44 Face-to-face Level D >40 minutes $117.40
91801 Video Level C 20–40 minutes $79.70
91802 Video Level D >40 minutes $117.40
93716 Phone Level C >20 minutes (eligibility for COVID-19 antivirals) $79.70
91894 Phone Level C >20 minutes (MMM 6–7) $79.70

Additional MBS item numbers for GP services can be found in the RACGP’s MBS online tool. Longer consultation items are also available for services provided in:

  • hospitals, institutions or homes
  • residential aged care facilities
  • an after-hours period.

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