Medicare Benefits Schedule - Item 23010

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23010 - Additional Information

Item Start Date:
Description Updated:
Schedule Fee Updated:

T10 - Relative Value Guide For Anaesthesia - Medicare Benefits Are Only Payable For Anaesthesia Performed In Association With An Eligible Service
21 - Anaesthesia/Perfusion Time Units


(a) administration of anaesthesia performed in association with an item in the range 20100 to 21997 or 22900 to 22905; or

(b) perfusion performed in association with item 22060; or

(c) for assistance at anaesthesia performed in association with items 25200 to 25205

For a period of:


(1 basic units)

Fee: $20.60 Benefit: 75% = $15.45 85% = $17.55

(See para TN.10.3 of explanatory notes to this Category)

Associated Notes



RVG Unit Values

Basic Units

The RVG basic unit allocation represents the complexity of the anaesthetic procedure relative to the anatomical site and physiological impact of the surgery. 

Time Units

The number of time units is calculated from the total time of the anaesthesia service, the assistant at anaesthesia service or the whole body perfusion service:

  • for anaesthesia, time is considered to begin when the anaesthetist commences exclusive and continuous care of the patient for anaesthesia. Time ends when the anaesthetist is no longer in professional attendance, that is, when the patient is safely placed under the supervision of other personnel;
  • for assistance at anaesthesia, time is taken to be the period that the assistant anaesthetist is in active attendance on the patient during anaesthesia; and
  • for perfusion, perfusion time begins with the commencement of anaesthesia and finishes with the closure of the chest.

For up to and including the first - 2 hours of time, each 15 minutes (or part thereof) constitutes 1 time unit. For time beyond 2 hours, each time unit equates to 10 minutes (or part thereof).

Modifying Units (25000 - 25050)

Modifying units have been included in the RVG to recognise added complexities in anaesthesia or perfusion, associated with the patient's age, physical status or the requirement for emergency surgery. These cover the following clinical situations:

ASA physical status indicator 3 - A patient with severe systemic disease that significantly limits activity (item 25000). This would include: severely limiting heart disease; severe diabetes with vascular complications or moderate to severe degrees of pulmonary insufficiency.

Some examples of clinical situations to which ASA 3 would apply are:

  • a patient with ischaemic heart disease such that they encounter angina frequently on exertion thus significantly limiting activities;
  • a patient with chronic airflow limitation who gets short of breath such that the patient cannot complete one flight of stairs without pausing;
  • a patient who has suffered a stroke and is left with a residual neurological deficit to the extent that is significantly limits normal activity, such as hemiparesis; or
  • a patient who has renal failure requiring regular dialysis.

ASA physical status indicator 4 - A patient with severe systemic disease which is a constant threat to life (item 25005). This covers patients with severe systemic disorders that are already life-threatening, not always correctable by an operation. This would include: patients with heart disease showing marked signs of cardiac failure; persistent angina or advanced degrees of pulmonary, hepatic, renal or endocrine insufficiency.

ASA physical status indicator 4 would be characterised by the following clinical examples:

  • a person with coronary disease such that they get angina daily on minimum exertion thus severely curtailing their normal activities;
  • a person with end stage emphysema who is breathless on minimum exertion such as brushing their hair or walking less than 20 metres; or
  • a person with severe diabetes which affects multiple organ systems where they may have one or more of the following examples:
  • severe visual impairment or significant peripheral vascular disease such that they may get intermittent claudication on walking less than 20 metres; or
  • severe coronary artery disease such that they suffer from cardiac failure and/or angina whereby they are limited to minimal activity.

ASA physical status indicator 5 - a moribund patient who is not expected to survive for 24 hours with or without the operation (item 25010). This would include: a burst abdominal aneurysm with profound shock; major cerebral trauma with rapidly increasing intracranial pressure or massive pulmonary embolus.

The following are some examples that would equate to ASA physical status indicator 5

  • a burst abdominal aneurysm with profound shock;
  • major cerebral trauma with increasing intracranial pressure; or
  • massive pulmonary embolus.

NOTE: It should be noted that the Medicare Benefits Schedule does NOT include modifying units for patients assessed as ASA physical status indicator 2. Some examples of ASA 2 would include:

  • A patient with controlled hypertension which has no affect on the patient's normal lifestyle;
  • A patient with coronary artery disease that results in angina occurring on substantial exertion but not limiting normal activity; or
  • A patient with insulin dependant diabetes which is well controlled and has minimal effect on normal lifestyle.
  • Where the patient is aged under 4 years old or at least 75 years (item 25013 or 25014).
  • For anaesthesia, assistance at anaesthesia or a perfusion service in association with an *emergency procedure (item 25020). 
  • For anaesthesia or assistance at anaesthesia in association with an *after hours emergency procedure (items 25025 and 25030).
  • For a perfusion service in association with *after hours emergency surgery (item 25050).

* NOTE:  It should be noted that the emergency modifier and the after hours emergency modifiers cannot both be claimed in the one anaesthesia assistance at anaesthesia or perfusion episode.

It should also be noted that modifiers are not stand alone services and can only be claimed in association with anaesthesia, assistance at anaesthesia or with a perfusion service covered by item 22060. 

Definition of Emergency

For the purposes of both the emergency modifier and the after hours emergency modifiers, emergency is defined as existing where the patient requires immediate treatment without which there would be significant threat to life or body part. 

Definition of After Hours

For the purposes of the after hours emergency modifier items, the after hours period is defined as being the period from 8pm to 8am on any weekday or at any time on a Saturday, a Sunday or a public holiday. Benefit for the After Hours Emergency Modifiers is only payable where more than 50% of the time for the emergency anaesthesia, the assistance at emergency anaesthesia or the perfusion service is provided in the after hours period. In situations where less than the 50% of the time for the service falls in the after hours period, the emergency modifier rather than the after hours emergency modifier applies. For information about deriving the fee for the service where the after hours emergency modifier applies.

Related Items: 22060 23010 25000 25005 25010 25020 25025 25030 25050


  • Assist - Addition/Deletion of (Assist.)
  • Amend - Amended Description
  • Anaes - Anaesthetic Values Amended
  • Emsn - EMSN Change
  • Fee - Fee Amended
  • Renum - Item Number Change (renumbered)
  • New - New Item
  • NewMin - New Item (previous Ministerial Determination)
  • Qfe - QFE Change