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Monday, 10 April 2000
Page: 15641

Mrs Crosio asked the Minister for Health and Aged Care, upon notice, on 15 February 2000:

(1) How many women in the electoral division of Prospect claimed the Medicare rebate for ultrasound screening during 1999.

(2) What was the average sum of the rebate.

(3) What was the average age of the women.

(4) Will the money saved by cutting the Medicare rebate be used to cover the expenses of magnetic resonance imaging scanning equipment.

(5) Will pregnant women need to pay up to $85 more for ultrasound screenings; if not, what will be the extra cost for ultrasound screenings.

Dr Wooldridge (Minister for Health and Aged Care) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) 2372 women in the electoral division of Prospect claimed the Medicare rebate for obstetric ultrasound, 4385 women claimed gynaecological ultrasound items and 8770 women received other ultrasound services.

(2) The average rebates were $84.81 for referred obstetric ultrasound, $29.42 for non referred obstetric ultrasound, $86.35 for referred gynaecological ultrasound, $29.87 for non referred gynaecological ultrasound, and $110.37 for all other ultrasound.

(3) The average ages of women receiving obstetric ultrasound was 29 years, the average age for gynaecological ultrasound was 36 for referred scans and 37 for non referred, and 48 for all women receiving other ultrasound scans.

(4) No.

(5) No.

(6) No. Women with concerns about the cost of ultrasound services should consider attending diagnostic imaging facilities where bulk billing is available. In the year to date, approximately 65% of diagnostic imaging services were bulk billed. Further, poorer women will actually benefit by the promotion of quality ultrasound, that the changes promote.