Mito Foundation is pleased to share that Australia’s Medical Services Advisory Committee has recently recommended that genomic testing for mitochondrial disease be funded by Medicare. This is an important milestone in the journey to improve how mito is diagnosed in Australia. Mito Foundation is in conversation with the Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon Mark Butler, to ensure that funding is provided as soon as possible.

Medicare funding for genomic testing for mito will remove one of the barriers to timely and less invasive diagnosis. Genomic testing can reduce the length and complexity of the diagnostic odyssey for mito and can reduce the number of invasive tests needed for some people. Genomic testing can also support diagnosis of  family members and access to reproductive options, including mitochondrial donation.

Congratulations to the health professionals and researchers who worked on this application, particularly teams from the Mito Medical Network, the Kolling Institute, Macquarie University and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Thank you also to researchers at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute for contributing their experiences and data.

This decision is an example of the impact of research on our health system. Two Australian genomic research projects particularly informed the decision. The first of these was the Australian Genomics Mitochondrial Flagship study co-funded by the Medical Research Future Fund and Mito Foundation. The second was funded by NSW Health at the Royal North Shore Hospitaland The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. These studies demonstrated the usefulness of genomic testing for mito within Australia’s health care system.

The Australian mito community has contributed to reaching this milestone. Many community members were participants in the research projects that supported the recommendation. Community members also contributed their experiences and views in two submissions made by Mito Foundation. Mito Foundation is also grateful to the other advocacy organisations that made submissions including Rare Voices Australia, GUARD Collaborative Australia, Australian Genomics and Childhood Dementia Initiative.