Big change coming for heart health checks


A change is coming and it's set to keep more hearts beating for longer.

From November 1, Medicare will raise the rebate for heart health checks to 100 per cent, meaning more than 1.5 million Australians at risk of heart attack or stroke will have free access to GP-administered heart health checks.

This comes after the Heart Foundation and News Corp Australia's award-winning Serial Killer campaign in February saw the Federal Government introduce the new Medicare rebate at 85 per cent for the nation's first heart health screening program.

The Serial Killer campaign highlighted the 51 Australians who die every day from heart disease.

Heart health checks are coming for free. Picture: iStock
Heart health checks are coming for free. Picture: iStock

Heart Foundation General Manager of Heart Health and Research Bill Stavrevski said the increase would benefit GPs as well as patients.

"This change will more appropriately reimburse GPs for their time and better support general practices to prioritise the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease," he said.

"The Heart Foundation is happy to see that feedback from general practice has been taken on board and we look forward to continuing our close work with GPs and practice nurses to expand the uptake of heart health checks."

Since the program was introduced five months ago, more than 35,000 people have had the check, allowing doctors to assess heart disease risks and assist patients in lowering this risk.

"Our Serial Killer partnership with News Corp showed what can be achieved when two organisations harness their combined talents, energy and passion, and works towards achieving a shared goal," Mr Stavrevski said.

"The campaign helped to boost a message we'd been trying to get across to governments for over a decade - that more needed to be done to protect Australian hearts from this killer disease - and delivered the new MBS item in under a week."

During a heart health check, GPs aim to identify cardiovascular disease risk factors through blood tests, discussing lifestyle and family history and checking blood pressure. This information is used to develop and implement a management plan.

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