Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association

Michels Warren has worked with the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association (ADIA) since 2013. One of the highlights of our partnership to date involved working alongside ADIA as part of a 16-month communications and lobbying campaign to secure Medicare indexation. Under the Medicare system, the amount the Federal Government pays for each approved medical procedure is supposed to be indexed to keep up with inflation. However, to save money, Federal Governments of both persuasions had failed to index radiology services (X-rays, CAT scans, MRIs etc) for more than 20 years – unfairly forcing enormous cost rises onto doctors and patients. We were given the task of increasing public (and therefore political) pressure on the Federal Government to ensure suitable funding for radiology was included in the 2019 Federal Budget.

To ensure maximum effectiveness, the campaign focused on key decision makers in the government – the Prime Minister and the Health Minister. Built around the rallying cry that “Radiology Saves Lives” the campaign had two key thrusts – a plethora of hard statistical facts supported by real-life stories of patients suffering. While these were communicated through a range of channels, we also energized target groups to add their voices of complaint, including patients, federal MPs, media and radiologists.

In April 2019, the Federal Health Minister announced that, for the first time in 20 years, the indexation of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items would be expanded to all ultrasound and diagnostic radiology services over three years from July 1, 2020. This $1.7 billion commitment means that the Medicare rebates for about 90 per cent of all diagnostic imaging services will now be indexed. This is an outcome that will benefit the nine million Australians who use diagnostic imaging services each year.