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BACKGROUND: As of 1 July 2005, the Medicare Benefits Schedule includes additional chronic disease management (CDM) item numbers offering general practitioners more options for managing patients with chronic conditions, including those requiring multidisciplinary care. The new item numbers are not a substitute for normal medical care but expand the possibilities for GPs and their patients. OBJECTIVE: This article provides a practical overview of the use of the CDM item numbers. DISCUSSION: A GP management plan (GPMP) if undertaken with team care arrangements (TCA) largely equates to the previous Enhanced Primary Care plan. The role of a practice nurse assisting in preparation of both a GPMP and TCA is now clearer and more inclusive. There is also increased flexibility in who can be involved in the review of these patients.