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Medical benefits for orthodontic treatment for cleft lip and palate patients



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FROM THE COMMONWEALTH MINISTER FOR HEALTH THE HON. M. J. R. MACKELLAR

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MEDICAl· BENEFITS FOR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT FOR

CLEFT LIP AND PALATE PATIENTS .

Children and young people receiving orthodontic and

related treatment for cleft lip and palate conditions will

now be entitled to Commonwealth Medical Benefits, the Minister

for Health, the Hon. Michael MacKellar, said today.

The entitlement, from 1 January 1981, comes as a

result of the decision to extend the Medical Benefits

Schedule to include orthodontic and associated treatment

announced on . 19 August 1980.

'The extension represents a significant initiative

by the Government for 1981, the International Year for

Disabled Persons', Mr MacKellar said.

About 600 children are b o m in Australia each year

with cleft lip and cleft palate conditions.

Mr MacKellar said treatment was expensive and placed

a heavy financial burden on the families of such children.

One million dollars had been provided for the program

in 1980-81· .

Eligible, items will include orthodontic, prosthodontic,

and oral surgical treatment of cleft lip and palate. A

general dental item involving preventive treatment and

prophylaxis for eligible patients has also been added to

the Schedule.

'The new arrangements will apply to eligible patients

for treatment received up to the age of 22 years', Mr

MacKellar said.

'By then, corrective treatment would be completed'.

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. In order to be eligible for benefit, a patient will have

to be formally recognised as a sufferer from a cleft lip and

palate condition. Certification will be undertaken at special

clinics at major hospitals in all capital cities. These

clinics currently co-ordinate treatment of cleft lip and

palate patients. . . .

Certificates of eligibility will be issued by the clinics

either following attendance by the patient Or, where this is

not practicable, examination of records submitted by the

patient's orthodontist.

Benefits will be claimed in the same way as other medical

benefits, except that it will be necessary to present evidence

of certification.

Mr MacKellar also announced that legislation was to

be amended to make cleft lip and palate patients living in

isolated areas eligible for Commonwealth financial assistance

under the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance

Scheme (IPTAAS) for orthodontic and associated treatment.

CANBERRA: 1 January 1981