The vitamin D testing rate is again rising, despite new MBS testing criteria

Louisa Gordon, Mary Waterhouse, Ian R Reid and Rachel E Neale
Med J Aust 2020; 213 (4): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50619
Published online: 8 June 2020

The number of tests for vitamin D deficiency in Australia rose steeply between 2000 and 2011, from 0.4 to 36.5 tests per 1000 population; the cost to Medicare increased from $1.1 million in 2000 to $95.6 million in 2010,1 and peaked at $151 million in 2012–13.2 Consequently, the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for testing (66608, 66609) were replaced in November 2014 by new items (66833–66837) with the aim of restricting testing to people at particular risk of vitamin D deficiency, including those with a history of osteomalacia or osteoporosis, elevated alkaline phosphatase levels, hyperparathyroidism, hypo‐ or hypercalcaemia, hypophosphataemia, malabsorption, chronic renal failure, deeply pigmented skin or chronic and severe lack of sun exposure, or a diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency, and people who used medications that reduce 25‐hydroxyvitamin D levels.3

  • 1 QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD
  • 2 Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, QLD
  • 3 The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 4 The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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