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Monday, 11 November 2002
Page: 6041


Senator Mark Bishop asked the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 25 September 2002:

(1) Are general practitioners (GP) in rural areas being paid at 110 per cent of the Comprehensive Medical Billing Services for services provided to Gold Card holders; if so: (a) by what authority has this concession been granted; (b) how many GPs are entitled to this concession; and (c) what is the justification for this concession, given that other GPs are limited to 100 per cent.

(2) With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 682 (House of Representative Hansard, 23 September 2002, p. 6806): Of the 77 specialists who have advised that they will no longer accept the Gold Card, what is the distribution by: (a) specialty; and (b) postcode.

(3) How many: (a) dentists; and (b) periodontists, have informed the department that they will no longer accept the Gold Card.

(4) Have any allied health providers advised the department that they will no longer accept the Gold Card.


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Veterans' Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes, some Local Medical Officers (LMOs) are paid at 110% of the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) for some services.

(a) The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Repatriation Commission and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) makes provision for a higher fee to be paid to LMOs who provide services to veterans in identified rural public hospitals, where state governments have made provisions for fees higher than 100% of the MBS. This applies in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

(b) Any LMO providing services in identified rural public hospitals in the 4 States mentioned in 1(a) above is eligible for the higher fee.

(c) Provision of payment of the higher fee was made as an incentive for providing medical services in defined rural areas.

(2) (a)

Specialty

No.

Gastroenterology

1

Nephrology

1

Neurosurgery

18

Orthopaedic surgery

16

Plastic and Reconstructive surgery

4

Urology

3

Diagnostic Radiology

1

Anaesthetics

2

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

2

Ophthalmology

14

Otorhinolaryncology

2

Psychiatry

2

Oncology

1

Dermatology

1

Specialist Pathologist

1

Consultant Physician - General Medicine

1

Consultant Physician - Rheumatology

2

Consultant Physician - Thoracic Medicine

1

Consultant Physician - Medical Oncology

1

Surgery

1

General surgery

2

Total

77

(b) The provision of this information would have the potential to identify individual specialists due to the small number of specialists in some groups and the identification by postcodes. Consistent with the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988 this information is not provided for publication in Hansard. Should the Senator require additional information, a confidential briefing could be arranged through the Office of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs.

(3) (a) 1 (b) Nil.

(4) Yes, 4 have advised the Department of Veterans' Affairs.