Pres­sure mounts to in­clude post-par­tum

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Jaime Shurmer

PRES­SURE con­tin­ues to mount for Medi­care to in­clude post-par­tum women who need tummy tucks for med­i­cal rea­sons, with Op­po­si­tion health spokeswoman Cather­ine King now weigh­ing in and a pe­ti­tion at­tract­ing sig­na­tures from across the na­tion.

Ms King re­cently told the South­ern Gazette her of­fice had been con­tacted by Vic­to­ria Park res­i­dent Ruth Unni and two other women in­ter­state who all need ab­domino­plasty.

Changes to Medi­care cri­te­ria for item 30177 ex­clude post­par­tum women in a move dubbed “overzeal­ous” by the Aus­tralian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion WA.

The Gazette re­ported Ms Unni’s plight in July when she can­celled her tummy tuck be­cause she could not af­ford it de­spite liv­ing with se­vere back pain, a her­nia and cyst and a 5cm sep­a­ra­tion of her ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles due to preg­nancy nine years ago.

Ms King said the La­bor party was a strong sup­porter of the in­de­pen­dent Medi­care Ser­vices Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee (MSAC) and the need for Medi­care pay­ments to be tied to rig­or­ous ev­i­dence.

“La­bor is con­cerned at me­dia re­ports that the Lipec­tomy Re­view Work­ing Group, which pro­vided the ev­i­dence for the MSAC re­view, rec­om­mended the re­ten­tion of Medi­care pay­ments for ab­domino­plasty for post par­tum preg­nancy prob­lems,” she said.

“I have thus writ­ten to the Min­is­ter for Health ask­ing her to re­view the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this de­ci­sion, and specif­i­cally that this change may have un­in­tended con­se­quences for women who have a clin­i­cal need for the surgery.”

Last month, Health Min­is­ter Sus­san Ley said the re­spon­si­bil­ity for cri­te­ria re­view rests with MSAC.

“The com­mit­tee may con­sider new ev­i­dence if it can demon­strate cost ef­fec­tive­ness, ben­e­fit and safety of the surgery for post par­tum women,” she said.

“The So­ci­ety has al­ready gone down this path and been over­rid­den but will be gath­er­ing more in­for­ma­tion and prepar­ing to present its case again,” a spokeswoman for the Aus­tralian So­ci­ety of Plastic Sur­geons said this month.

“It may take six months to do and in the mean­time many women will be dis­ad­van­taged by the de­ci­sion that re­jected the rec­om­men­da­tion of ASPS.”

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