- The disparity of funding for podiatric surgery has been of concern for a long time. The Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons is continuing to lobby the government and private health insurance industry to redress what is essentially an anti-competitive and discriminatory practice. While this issue has been recognized as an area for concern, governments and industry are slow to react
- In July 2004 changes to the federal legislation required health funds to pay for some of the hospital costs and any prosthesis associated with podiatric surgery.
Summary of the Federal government Hansard during the debate on the Health Legislation Amendment (Podiatric Surgery & Other Matters) Bill 2004
Mr ABBOTT Minister for Health and Ageing
“I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum”.
“The objective is to ensure greater competition amongst providers of foot surgery by allowing for greater recompense for consumers of private health insurance.”
“The intention is to ensure that an admitted private patient being treated by an accredited podiatrist (Podiatric Surgeon) is able to access benefits, under an applicable benefits arrangement, for the hospital treatment costs as they would if a medical practitioner provided a professional service.”
Ms GILLARD Shadow Ministerfor Health and Ageing
“the opposition is prepared to support the bill in its entirety and will be doing so today”
Ms WORTH Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing
“Podiatric surgeons have been around for a long time. They are accredited under state and territory legislation. They are highly experienced in their craft and are subject to rigorous professional and clinical standards. They are accountable for their work.”
“It makes private health insurance a product that is so much more comprehensive and attractive to the hundreds of thousands of Australians who need podiatric treatment at least once in their lives. It gives those people more choice in their treatment options. No longer will they have to be treated by a general surgeon simply because one practitioner attracts a private benefit and the other does not.”
- The amendment while welcome did little to normalize the rebate for podiatric surgery with those of other professions. If you are as unhappy about this situation as we are then we would suggest you write a letter of complaint to your local Federal Member of Parliament and send copies to the Federal Health Minister and the Health Insurance Ombudsman to request that more action be taken.
Federal Minister for Health
Department of Health & Aged Care
Private Health Insurance Ombudsman
31 Market St.SYDNEY.
PH: 1800 640695
FX: 02 9261 5937