Cut-price surgery to fight greed

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - SUE DUN­LEVY

DOC­TORS irate at their in­dus­try’s greed are of­fer­ing heav­ily dis­counted surg­eries and sav­ing pa­tients up to $70,000.

The quasi-pro bono ser­vice high­lights how ridicu­lously high some sur­geons’ fees have be­come and how in­ad­e­quate health fund re­bates are.

Head of Plas­tic and Re­con­struc­tive Surgery at Mac­quarie Uni­ver­sity Pro­fes­sor Anand Deva is be­hind the pro­gram which cov­ers post weight loss surgery, breast re­duc­tion surgery, breast im­plant re­vi­sions, bariatric surgery and is about to ex­pand to hip and knee re­place­ments.

More than 4000 pri­vately in­sured low-in­come earn­ers have ap­plied to take part in the pro­gram and about 300 pa­tients in Queens­land, NSW and Western Aus­tralia have so far been treated.

How­ever, Pro­fes­sor Deva says he has had trou­ble re­cruit­ing doc­tors to take part in the scheme. “If all sur­geons did at least one ac­cess case a month, it would be great. I’m do­ing four,” he said.

Un­der the pro­gram, doc­tors ac­cept Medi­care and health fund re­bates for the surgery and charge pa­tients about $500 in gap pay­ments for plas­tic surgery and up to $1000 for bariatric surgery.

This is a mas­sive dis­count as com­monly gap pay­ments for plas­tic surgery ex­ceed $20,000 per surgery. Ac­cess the pro­gram at www.ac­cesspro­gram.org.au

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