Taking the pressure off high blood pressure

The Morrison Government is investing $40.5 million for a new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item to improve the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure).

From 1 November, Australians will be able to claim rebates for ambulatory blood pressure measurement, which monitors a patient’s blood pressure continuously over 24 hours through a wearable device to diagnose if they are hypertensive or not.

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is the best available test to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension and more effective than in-clinic blood pressure monitoring. It will save lives and improve lives.

In Australia, about 1 in 3 people aged 18 and over have high blood pressure. Men are more likely to have uncontrolled high blood pressure. 1 in 4 men have uncontrolled high blood pressure, compared with 1 in 5 women.

It is a risk factor for chronic conditions, including stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure and chronic kidney disease.

Taking the pressure off high blood pressure

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said, the Morrison Government was committed to ensuring Australians can access the latest in health care diagnosis and treatment.

“This is a significant development in hypertension awareness and care in Australia and we anticipate that this listing will benefit more than 400,000 Australians in the first 12 months,” Minister Hunt said.

“The Morrison Government’s commitment to Medicare is rock solid and we will continue to ensure that Australians have access to access to new medicines and treatments.

“Australia has a world-class health system and our government will continue to ensure it remains that way.”

The new MBS item includes consultation, fitting of the device, analysis of the data, generation of a report and development of a treatment plan.

The Government agreed to add Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring to the MBS following recommendations from the independent Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC). We’d also like to acknowledge the work of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia, including Professor Geoffrey Head, Dr Anastasia Mihailidou, Professor Michael Stowasser and Professor Markus Schlaich.

A number of new MBS items are expected to be available from November 1 2021.