Irons tar­geted on scan re­bates

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - STREET WATCH -

RA­DI­OL­OGY chain SKG has tar­geted Fed­eral mem­bers, in­clud­ing Swan MHR Steve Irons, over the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s limited in­crease of Medi­care re­bates for cancer scans.

Medi­care re­bates to ra­di­ol­o­gists will be in­creased for just 59 of 891 scans from 2020.

SKG Ra­di­ol­ogy chief ex­ec­u­tive Sue Ul­re­ich said peo­ple were skimp­ing on their health ser­vices be­cause they strug­gled to pay the gap fees for the scans.

“The 19-year freeze and the bro­ken prom­ise to fund Medi­care means that it is be­com­ing re­ally un­vi­able to of­fer ser­vices to pa­tients that will help save their life through early di­ag­no­sis, par­tic­u­larly cancer, without gap fees in­creas­ing,” she said.

A me­dia re­lease from a public re­la­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tive for SKG tar­geted Mr Irons as a strong ad­vo­cate for cancer ser­vices in the com­mu­nity who chaired the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Health Com­mit­tee In­quiry into Skin Cancer.

SKG fees are not in­creas­ing, but re­bates to ra­di­ol­o­gists have been on hold since 1998 and some have dropped de­spite GP re­bates in­creas­ing as promised.

Mr Irons said no other com­pany but SKG had con­tacted his of­fice about this is­sue and he re­futed claims of a bro­ken elec­tion prom­ise.

He said if the com­pany wanted to in­crease its prices, they could, but they should not ex­pect the tax­payer to fund their price in­creases. “The agree­ment with the di­ag­nos­tic imag­ing sec­tor was ei­ther to keep the Bulk Billing In­cen­tive or to re-in­dex,” he said.

“We’ve done both and the Coali­tion is the only party with a com­mit­ment to re-in­dex di­ag­nos­tic imag­ing ser­vices.

“Although the other di­ag­nos­tic imag­ing items are not be­ing in­dexed, fees for pa­tients would only in­crease if providers chose to charge pa­tients higher fees.”

Ar­madale MLA Tony Buti’s of­fice said they had not been con­tacted by con­stituents strug­gling to pay for such scans. Burt MLA Matt Keogh’s of­fice said the same but high­lighted the is­sue dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign.

The AMA WA has not re­ceived neg­a­tive feed­back on the mat­ter from GPs and the Medi­care Ben­e­fit Scheme task­force con­sid­er­ing all the af­fected item num­bers.

Steve Irons

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