Medicare Benefits Schedule - Item 51309

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51309 - Additional Information

Item Start Date:
Description Updated:
Schedule Fee Updated:

T9 - Assistance At Operations

Assistance at a series or combination of operations that include “(Assist.)” and assistance at a birth involving Caesarean section

one fifth of the established fee for the operation or combination of operations (the fee for item 16520 being the Schedule fee for the Caesarean section component in the calculation of the established fee)

(See para TN.9.1, TN.9.4 of explanatory notes to this Category)

Associated Notes



Assistance at Operations - (Items 51300 to 51318)

Items covering operations which are eligible for benefits for surgical assistance have been identified by the inclusion of the word "Assist." in the item description.  Medicare benefits are not payable for surgical assistance associated with procedures which have not been so identified.

The assistance must be rendered by a medical practitioner other than the surgeon, the anaesthetist or the assistant anaesthetist.

Where more than one practitioner provides assistance to a surgeon no additional benefits are payable.  The assistance benefit payable is the same irrespective of the number of practitioners providing surgical assistance.

NOTE: The Benefit in respect of assistance at an operation is not payable unless the assistance is rendered by a medical practitioner other than the anaesthetist or assistant anaesthetist.  The amount specified is the amount payable whether the assistance is rendered by one or more medical practitioners.

Assistance at Multiple Operations

Where surgical assistance is provided at two or more operations performed on a patient on the one occasion the multiple operation formula is applied to all the operations to determine the surgeon's fee for Medicare benefits purposes.  The multiple-operation formula is then applied to those items at which assistance was rendered and for which Medicare benefits for surgical assistance is payable to determine the abated fee level for assistance.  The abated fee is used to determine the appropriate Schedule item covering the surgical assistance (ie either Item 51300 or 51303). 

Multiple Operation Rule - Surgeon Multiple Operation Rule - Assistant
Item A - $300@100% Item A (Assist.) - $300@100%
Item B - $250@50% Item B (No Assist.)
Item C - $200@25% Item C (Assist.) - $200@50%
Item D - $150@25% Item D (Assist.) - $150@25%

The derived fee applicable to Item 51303 is calculated on the basis of one-fifth of the abated Schedule fee for the surgery which attracts an assistance rebate.

Surgeons Operating Independently

Where two surgeons operate independently (ie neither assists the other or administers the anaesthetic) the procedures they perform are considered as two separate operations, and therefore, where a surgical assistant is engaged by each, or one of the surgeons, benefits for surgical assistance are payable in the same manner as if  the surgeons were operating separately.

Related Items: 51300 51303 51306 51309 51312 51315 51318



Benefits Payable Under Item 51309

Medicare benefits are payable under item 51309 for assistance rendered at any operation identified by the word "Assist." or a series or combination of operations identified  by  the word "Assist." and assistance at a birth involving Caesarean section. 

Where assistance is provided at a Caesarean section birth and at a procedure or procedures which have not been identified by the word "Assist.", benefits are payable under item 51306.


Related Items: 51309


  • 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