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Category 3 - THERAPEUTIC PROCEDURES
32228 - Additional Information
Endoscopic examination of the colon to the caecum by colonoscopy, other that a service to which item 32222, 32223, 32224, 32225, or 32226 applies. Applicable only once
Fee: $353.45 Benefit: 75% = $265.10 85% = $300.45
Category 3 - THERAPEUTIC PROCEDURES
Multiple Operation Rule
The fees for two or more operations, listed in Group T8 (other than Subgroup 12 of that Group), performed on a patient on the one occasion are calculated by the following rule:‑
- 100% for the item with the greatest Schedule fee
plus 50% for the item with the next greatest Schedule fee
plus 25% for each other item.
(a) Fees so calculated which result in a sum which is not a multiple of 5 cents are to be taken to the next higher multiple of 5 cents.
(b) Where two or more operations performed on the one occasion have Schedule fees which are equal, one of these amounts shall be treated as being greater than the other or others of those amounts.
(c) The Schedule fee for benefits purposes is the aggregate of the fees calculated in accordance with the above formula.
(d) For these purposes the term "operation" only refers to all items in Group T8 (other than Subgroup 12 of that Group).
This rule does not apply to an operation which is one of two or more operations performed under the one anaesthetic on the same patient if the medical practitioner who performed the operation did not also perform or assist at the other operation or any of the other operations, or administer the anaesthetic. In such cases the fees specified in the Schedule apply.
Where two medical practitioners operate independently and either performs more than one operation, the method of assessment outlined above would apply in respect of the services performed by each medical practitioner.
If the operation comprises a combination of procedures which are commonly performed together and for which a specific combined item is provided in the Schedule, it is regarded as the one item and service in applying the multiple operation rule.
There are a number of items in the Schedule where the description indicates that the item applies only when rendered in association with another procedure. The Schedule fees for such items have therefore been determined on the basis that they would always be subject to the "multiple operation rule".
Where the need arises for the patient to be returned to the operating theatre on the same day as the original procedure for further surgery due to post-operative complications, which would not be considered as normal aftercare - see note TN.8.4, such procedures would generally not be subject to the "multiple operation rule". Accounts should be endorsed to the effect that they are separate procedures so that a separate benefit may be paid.
Extended Medicare Safety Net Cap
The Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) benefit cap for items subject to the multiple operations rule, where all items in that claim are subject to a cap are calculated from the abated (reduced) schedule fee.
For example, if an item has a Schedule fee of $100 and an EMSN benefit cap equal to 80 per cent of the schedule fee, the calculated EMSN benefit cap would be $80. However, if the schedule fee for the item is reduced by 50 per cent in accordance with the multiple operations rule provisions, and all items in that claim carry a cap, the calculated EMSN benefit cap for the item is $40 (50% of $100*80%).
Category 3 - THERAPEUTIC PROCEDURES
Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Procedures - (Items 30473 to 30481, 30484, 30485, 30490 to 30494, 30680 to 32023, 32084 to 32095, 32106, 32232 and 32222 to 32229)
The following are guidelines for appropriate minimum standards for the performance of GI endoscopy in relation to (a) cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation procedures, and (b) anaesthetic and resuscitation equipment.
These guidelines are based on the advice of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, the Sections of HPB and Upper GI and of Colon and Rectal Surgery of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia.
Cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation procedures
Endoscopic procedures should be performed in facilities where endoscope and accessory reprocessing protocols follow procedures outlined in:
- Infection Control in Endoscopy, Gastroenterological Society of Australia and Gastroenterological Nurses College of Australia , 2011;
- Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (NHMRC, 2010);
- Australian Standard AS 4187 2014 (and Amendments), Standards Association of Australia.
Anaesthetic and resuscitation equipment
Where the patient is anaesthetised, anaesthetic equipment, administration and monitoring, and post-operative and resuscitation facilities should conform to the standards outlined in 'Guidelines on Sedation and/or Analgesia for Diagnostic and Interventional Medical, Dental or Surgical Procedures' (PS09), Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, Gastroenterological Society of Australia and Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
For the purposes of Item 32023, the procedure is to be performed by a colorectal surgeon or gastroenterologist with endoscopic training who is recognised by the Conjoint Committee for the Recognition of Training in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
Related Items: 30473 30475 30478 30479 30481 30484 30485 30490 30491 30494 30680 30682 30684 30686 30687 30688 30690 30692 30694 32023 32084 32087 32094 32095 32106 32222 32223 32224 32225 32226 32227 32228 32229 32232
Category 3 - THERAPEUTIC PROCEDURES
Colonoscopy Items (items 32222-32229)
Colonoscopy items (items 32222-32229)
It is expected that clinicians using the MBS items for colonoscopy also refer to national guidelines such as the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Clinical Practice Guidelines for Surveillance Colonoscopy (NHMRC guidelines). For more information on clinical practice guidelines for surveillance colonoscopy see the colorectal cancer pages on the Cancer Council Australia website.
Surveillance colonoscopy should be planned based on high-quality endoscopy in a well-prepared colon using most recent and previous procedure information when histology is known. Clinicians should use their best clinical judgement to determine the interval between testing and the item that best suits the condition of the patient.
The NHMRC guidelines do not support the use of colonoscopy for patients at average or slightly above average risk of colorectal cancer who do not have symptoms or a positive faecal occult blood test (FOBT).
Items 32222-32228 specify that there is endoscopic examination to the caecum. The ‘to the caecum’ requirements for colonoscopy examinations do not apply to patients who have no caecum following right hemi colectomy. For these patients the examination should be to the anastomosis. Item 32084 should be billed if preparation is inadequate to allow visualisation to the caecum.
General practitioners should ensure colonoscopy referral practices align with applicable national guidelines, including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ guidelines for preventive activities in general practice (the red book). In addition, general practitioners are urged to recommend biennial FOBT screening to age-appropriate patients.
Colonoscopy where a polyp/polyps are removed
Items 32222-32226 and 32228 provide for diagnostic colonoscopy when claimed alone. Where a polyp or polyps are removed during the colonoscopy, item 32229 should also be claimed in association with the appropriate colonoscopy item.
Definition of previous history (items 32222-32225)
For items 32223-32225 the most appropriate item to be billed is determined by the previous history of the patient. The previous history for the purpose of these items is defined by number, size and type of adenomas removed during any previous colonoscopy.
Although with a patient with a previous history of 1-2 low risk adenomas (<10mm with no high-risk histological features) is eligible for a colonoscopy every five years under item 32223, clinical guidlines indicate that colonoscopy every 10 years is sufficient.
Definition of moderate risk of colorectal cancer due to family history (item 32223)
For item 32223 a patient is considered at moderate risk of colorectal cancer if there is moderate risk family history of colorectal cancer – defined as:
- 1 first degree relative less than 55 years of age at diagnosis; OR
- 2 first degree relatives with a history of colorectal cancer; OR
- 1 first degree relative and 2 second degree relatives with a history of colorectal cancer.
The national clinical practice guidelines support the use of FOBT as a first line test for patients with a low risk family history of colorectal cancer.
Exception item (item 32228)
Timing of colonoscopy following polypectomy should conform to the recommended surveillance intervals set out in clinical guidelines, taking into account individualised risk assessment. In the absence of reliable clinical history, clinicians should use their best clinical judgement to determine the interval between testing and the item that best suits the condition of the patient. Where the clinician is unable to access sufficient patient information to enable a colonoscopy to be performed under items 32222-32226, but in their opinion there is a clinical need for a colonoscopy, then item 32228 should be used. This item is available once per patient per lifetime.
Items 32223, 32224, 32225 and 32226 have time intervals for repeat colonoscopy which are consistent with guidelines. These services are payable under Medicare only when provided in accordance with the approved intervals.
Patients may fit several categories and the most appropriate fit is a matter for clinician judgement with the highest risk indicating what subsequent colonoscopy intervals are appropriate. The examples provided below show that the result of the histopathology will not lengthen the surveillance intervals (in the case of patient with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome) and may actually shorten the surveillance intervals.
A patient at high risk of colorectal cancer with FAP or Lynch syndrome has a number of polyps removed at a surveillance colonoscopy. Item 32226 and 32229 are the appropriate items to bill. If the histology result returns 1-2 adenomas for patients at low to moderate risk then the next surveillance colonoscopy is recommended in 5 years. However, the patient’s familial condition means that a shorter interval (12 months) is recommended and payable.
A patient at moderate risk of colorectal cancer because of family history has a number of polyps removed at a surveillance colonoscopy. Item 32223 and 32229 are the appropriate items to bill based on the patient’s family history. If the histology testing returns showing an adenoma with high‑risk histological features then the next surveillance colonoscopy is recommended in 3 years instead of 5 years.
How to use the items with new patients who have undergone previous colonoscopy
Patients whose care continues within one practice should have the relevant history readily available to guide decision making. For new patients, practitioners should make reasonable efforts to establish a patient’s previous colonoscopy history. This includes seeking information from My Health Record, the records department of the hospital where the previous procedure occurred, the GP or the patient. The patients’ MBS claims history for colonoscopy services will also assist with this.
For audit purposes it is important to record the most appropriate item. In accordance with good practice, clinicians are required to maintain records that include pathology results which must be made available to the patient or other practitioners as required.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard states all facilities and clinicians delivering colonoscopy services must provide a timely copy of the colonoscopy report and histology result to the patient and their GPs. Compliance with the Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard is mandatory under the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation Scheme.
Patient eligibility for colonoscopy services
The Department of Human Services (DHS) will be able to confirm whether a colonoscopy service has been claimed by an individual patient and the date of service. It will also be able to confirm any restriction on the frequency of the item claimed which would prevent a rebate from being paid if the service was provided again within the restricted period. Patients can seek clarification from the DHS by calling 132 011.
Patients can also access their own claiming history with a My Health Record or by establishing a Medicare online account through myGov or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
Further information about these services can be found on the Department of Human Services website.
Practitioners providing colonoscopy services can call Medicare on 132 150 to check the patient’s claiming history. The patient’s Medicare card number will be required together with the range of item numbers to be checked. For example, the new item numbers for colonoscopy services are in the range 32222-32229. The operator will interrogate the patient’s claiming history and provide advice on any claims paid for a colonoscopy service within the range of items specified and the date of the service.
Providers can also check a patient's eligibility via Health Professional Online Services (HPOS). HPOS will be able to return advice on whether a service is payable or not payable.
All patients who require a colonoscopy will be eligible for a service. However, MBS rebates will not be payable for services which do not meet the clinical indications and the item requirements for a colonoscopy or a repeat colonoscopy where the interval is specified in the item. Practitioners should ensure that their practice conforms to the approved clinical guidelines.
The DHS enquiry lines for providers and for patients is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Further information about these services can be found on the Department of Human Services website.
- 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