Irons targeted on scan rebates
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.