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01-12-2009 | Research | Uitgave 1/2009 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2009

Utilisation of podiatry services in Australia under the Medicare Enhanced Primary Care program, 2004-2008

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2009
Auteur:
Hylton B Menz
Belangrijke opmerkingen

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1757-1146-2-30) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

HBM is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. It is journal policy that editors are removed from the peer review and editorial decision making processes for papers they have authored or co-authored.

Abstract

Background

In 2004, as an extension of the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) program, the Australian Government introduced a policy of providing Medicare rebates for allied health services provided to patients with chronic or complex health conditions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the utilisation of podiatry services provided under this scheme between 2004 and 2008.

Methods

Data pertaining to the Medicare item 10962 for the calendar years 2004-2008 were extracted from the Australian Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) database and cross-tabulated by sex and age. Descriptive analyses were undertaken to assess sex and age differences in the number of consultations provided and to assess for temporal trends over the five-year assessment period. The total cost to Medicare over this period was also determined.

Results

During the 2004-2008 period, a total of 1,338,044 EPC consultations were provided by podiatrists in Australia. Females exhibited higher utilisation than males (63 versus 37%), and those aged over 65 years accounted for 75% of consultations. There was a marked increase in the number of consultations provided from 2004 to 2008, and the total cost of providing EPC podiatry services during this period was $62.9 M.

Conclusion

Podiatry services have been extensively utilised under the EPC program by primary care patients, particularly older women, and the number of services provided has increased dramatically between 2004 and 2008. Further research is required to determine whether the EPC program enhances clinical outcomes compared to standard practice.

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