Victorian Health Minister David Davis reveals that waiting times for care have also blown out with scores of patients waiting longer than clinically recommended times for care.* As a leukaemia survivor who would have died within weeks had my condition gone undiagnosed, this kind of wait to have serious (or even just seriously irritating) medical conditions which impact on quality of life looked at did not sit well with me at all, says Darren Lemin, now Director of I Need A Specialist, a search engine to help Australians looking for a specialist doctor . The reality is there are many Melbourne medical specialists qualified and available for appointments, but GPs and hospitals often only recommend a small proportion of specialists who already have really long waiting lists it just seems inefficient for all parties. http://www.ineedaspecialist.com.au/ When it comes to health, an area where inefficiencies could mean life or death, Darren believed something more should be done to show patients how to see a specialist faster . Thats why he created I Need A Specialist (INAS), a free website that provides a fast and easy way to search for Australias leading healthcare specialists and request an appointment online. I Need A Specialist offers full access to a community of Australias leading healthcare specialists, who can be easily found with search options such as specialty, suburb, hospital name etc. giving Aussies real choice and peace of mind when it comes to selecting the right healthcare specialist for their family. Darren says, Many of the patients that contact us looking for a medical specialist have a wait of 3-6 months for their appointments by a GP referred specialist, and since we launched the I Need A Specialist service, the wait time for appointments has only ever been between 1 day and two weeks so using this service has quite literally changed lives. http://www.ineedaspecialist.com.au/ Melissa from Doreen, Victoria was also looking for a specialist doctor online and found one at I Need A Specialist. She says, I cant tell you how thankful I am! I am crying right now! Thank you! You have saved my daughters life. Brendan Thomson from Plenty, Victoria found the Melbourne medical specialists he needed with the help of I Need A Specialist. He says, I recently needed to find two specialists for different issues.
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Specialists accused of charging different rates based on what a patient looks like
Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said charges were meant to be based on actual costs, not whether someone looked wealthy or turned up “in stubbies and thongs”. Dr Hambleton called on the insurance industry to provide evidence so that the claims could be acted upon. “It should be stamped out,” he said. PHA’s Dr Armitage said that doctors were charging some private health insurance policy holders extra “despite our very best efforts, which include paying (treatment) providers more”. These are payments on top of the Medicare Benefits Schedule fee, on the basis that policy holders will not have an out-of-pocket cost for the treatment. For example, industry no.2 Bupa’s “Medical Gap Scheme Benefit” pays a doctor nearly $2000 towards the delivery of a baby – 184 per cent more than the MBS fee of just under $700. However, industry players say that in some instances, specialists who sign up to these “no gap” schemes still decide to charge an additional amount. In such cases, the patient doesn’t just pay the amount over and above the gap scheme benefit – they pay everything above the MBS fee. News Limited has obtained a breakdown of one insurer’s gap scheme benefits, which reveals that while it pays on average 50 per cent more than the MBS for orthopaedics, nearly 40 per cent of patients still end up with out-of-pocket costs. Ear, nose and throat specialists are offered an extra 47 per cent, but more than half the time people still incur a gap payment. The AMA’s Dr Hambleton cited official Private Health Insurance Administration Council data that showed there was no gap for 89 per cent of specialist services. Dr Hambleton said the unnamed insurer’s data might indicate that it wasn’t offering specialists enough. A comparison against Bupa’s rebates showed the unnamed insurer did pay less. Meanwhile, nearly 90,000 people have now joined the Big Health Insurance Switch seeking more affordable cover.