Woman receiving a blood pressure test as part of a heart health check

Vital heart health checks no longer under threat

Medicare Heart Health Check Saved

5 May 2023

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute says the Federal Government’s decision to extend Medicare-funded Heart Health Checks will save lives.

The Institute was part of a vocal coalition which campaigned to save Heart Health Checks from being axed.

Heart Health Checks were introduced in 2019 to the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) - a huge step forward in tackling Australia’s biggest killer - but item numbers 699 and 177 on the MBS were at risk of not being extended.

Professor Jason Kovacic, Executive Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, said: “Fatal heart attacks have been on the rise since COVID with 14,000 Australians losing their lives from ischemic heart disease in the first 10 months of 2022 alone. This was not the time to cut Heart Health Checks and we applaud the Minister for Health for extending these vital tests for two more years.

Professor Jason Kovacic in his office

“We look forward to working with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to ensure that every eligible Australian gets this life-saving test and that together we turn the tide on Australia’s biggest killer.” 

More than 420,000 Australians have had a Heart Health Check since they were introduced, an essential tool for identifying potential heart problems and addressing them before they become more serious.

When it was revealed, they were under threat the Institute, along with the National Heart Foundation of Australia, hearts4heart, the Baker Institute, Heart Support Australia, Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance, the Australian & New Zealand Society of Cardiac & Thoracic Surgeons and Australian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association launched a national campaign to save the checks.

Professor Kovacic said: “We are definitely stronger by working together and it was fantastic to see what we achieved in just a few short weeks. We need to make cardiovascular disease a national priority – far too many Australians lose their lives to heart disease and we can and should do more to tackle this.”

-- ENDS --

For all media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Julia Timms
Head, Media & Communications
0457 517 355

Collage of Warren running and in the hospital

Runner Warren's insistence for a heart health checkup might have saved his life

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years