Bone health

Repeat BMD testing targeted in MBS review


Repeat testing for bone densitometry will be restricted to once every two to five years for people aged over 70, new recommendations from the Bone Densitometry Working Group suggest.

In draft recommendations the group proposes that new item numbers are created to allow repeat testing of BMD in patients with normal or mild osteopenia (down to t score of -1.5) every five years.

With repeat testing for patients with moderate or marked osteopenia (T score of -1.5 to -2.5) taking place at two year intervals.

The working group stresses that people with osteoporosis will not be affected by the proposed changes.

“Future testing would occur using other relevant bone densitometry item numbers specifically for patients with osteoporosis,” the report said.

Another proposal included in the draft report involves the requirement for a specifically licenced and qualified technician to perform the DEXA scan instead of a specialist or consultant physician.

This was because historically specialist or consultant physicians were required to perform BMD testing.

However, since DEXA scan technology was included in the MBS in 2014  it was not standard practice for specialists or consultant physicians to perform the scans.

“It is best practice in the US and Europe that DEXA is performed by trained technicians and reported by specialists or consultant physicians,” the report said.

The committee also recommends that as the most reliable BMD measures come from the spine and hip this should be specified in guidelines.

You can access the full report here.

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