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Pathology rebates the latest Medicare mess



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

P.O. B O X 1 2 0 6 . B O O R A G O O N , W .A . 6 1 6 4 SUITE 8, GATEWAY MELVILLE CITY CENTRE BOORAGOON TEL. (09) 364 5554, (0621774169

FAX: (09) 3G4 9971

PETER S HACK, M.P.

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR TANGNEY SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH

MICAH'M e d fr 25TlT~Jan.uary, 1989. 5/89 E D f o A R E L E A S E .

PATHOLOGY REBATES THE LATEST MEDICARE MESS

"The Hawke Government stands condemned for the state of confusion which exists in relation to the payment of Medicare rebates for pathology", Federal Shadow Minister for Health, Peter Shack, said today.

"The Government's decision to revert to the scale of

pathology rebates originally Implemented on 1st August 1986 will completely rob patients of rebates for some pathology services and cause both patients and pathology providers great inconvenience and hardship.

"This is just one more example of the way in which the Labor Government is willing to sacrifice the interests Of patients and the medical profession to serve its own selfish ends.

"This whole muddle - the loss of some previously scheduled items, the increases in patients' out of pocket expenses, the need for patients to ask pathologists to re-itemise and reĀ­ issue accounts, the delays In patients and pathologists receiving their rebates - could all have been avoided if the Government had heeded the warnings given before it brought in

the new schedule on 1st November, 1988.

" T t. is ludicrous for a spokesman for the Minister for Community Services and Health, Dr Blewett, to try and pass the buck and say that, 'All the Minister did was accept the recommendations of the (Pathology Services Advisory) Committee'.

"Well before the new schedule came into effect on 1st

November it was pointed out to the Minister in no uncertain manner that it contained serious errors and inequities.

"These errors and inequities were not just ones identified by the pathologists, but by officers of the Minister's own department.

"The Government got it all wrong in the first place and in its blind determination to push ahead regardless it has created an intolerable situation in which patients will be faced with big gaps between fees and rebates and pathologists with a cut in income of 6.21 per cent, despite the fact that

like everyone else they are having to meet CPI rises in the region of 7.3 per cent a quarter.

"The only responsible course of action for the Government to take now is to start talking to the pathologists and to do it fast before patients suffer too much as a result of this latest Medicare mess".

Further information: Peter Shack (09) 364 5554.