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Mater patients win cheaper MRIs.

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22nd February 2005

Patients using the Mater Private Hospital Magnetic Resonance Imaging unit will soon be eligible for Medicare rebates, Member for North Sydney, Joe Hockey, said today.

Mr Hockey said the Australian Government had approved Medicare benefits for MRIs provided by the hospital as part of expanded access to MRI across the nation. The MRI new unit at Mater will be operational within the next 12 months.

The hospital’s unit is one of an additional 21 MRI services around Australia that will now be able to offer Medicare-supported services. Applications from providers for Medicare benefits were rigorously assessed against criteria recommended by an expert advisory group.

The Mater Private Hospital is one of four private hospitals with MRI-relevant caseloads which were selected for Medicare benefits.

Mr Hockey said the decision to provide Medicare rebates would make MRI more affordable for residents saving around $100 on a MRI scan.

“Even better news is that the government has struck a deal with the MRI provider to limit the costs of MRI scans for many patients,” Mr Hockey said.

“There will be no out of pocket expenses charged for Medicare MRI scans taken at the Mater, and that’s great news for our community.”

Mr Hockey said the extension of Medicare rebates arose from the government’s announcement before last year’s election that it would increase the number of MRI machines eligible for Medicare benefits by at least 20.

Since 1998, the Australian Government has increased the number of MBS-funded MRI units from 18 to 77. This new group will bring the total to 98.

The government has extended Medicare access to MRI to ensure this important medical technology remains affordable.

“The Howard Government is committed to increasing the availability and quality of health services across Australia. This new MRI machine will deliver important health benefits to the North Sydney community,” Mr Hockey said.