Watch out for un­ex­pected fees

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

I re­cently had oc­ca­sion to visit Kenepuru Ac­ci­dent and Med­i­cal Clinic, af­ter my hus­band had fallen and hurt his hip.

Af­ter the con­sul­ta­tion, which took place within work­ing hours and with­out any treat­ment other than an x-ray and pain re­lief, I was stunned to be told I had to pay a full con­sul­ta­tion fee of $35.

When I ob­jected, stat­ing that it should be cov­ered by ACC, I was told, ‘‘ ACC doesn’t pay the doc­tors’’. I paid up, but have since been try­ing to dis­cover the rea­son for this stance.

Like many oth­ers, I had thought that be­cause the clinic was sit­u­ated within Kenepuru Hos­pi­tal, the clinic should, like the Ac­ci­dent and Emer­gency Depart­ment in Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal, be free dur­ing work­ing hours.

I un­der­stood the af­ter hours sit­u­a­tion, when the med­i­cal con­sul­ta­tions are pro­vided by lo­cal GPs, as they used to be in the af­ter hours unit in Porirua.

But I thought that dur­ing work­ing hours the doc­tors would be paid by the Dis­trict Health Board. How­ever, I have made in­quiries and will try to clar­ify the sit­u­a­tion.

The main prob­lem with our per­cep­tion is the sim­ple fact that the clinic is lo­cated on the hos­pi­tal premises.

In par­tic­u­lar, we who have con­trib­uted to the health sys­tem through our taxes ex­pect our hos­pi­tals to be free. That is why we could take our ac­ci­dents etc to Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal and pay noth­ing.

But Kenepuru is in a dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion. The clinic is ex­actly that – a clinic, equiv­a­lent to the lo­cal med­i­cal cen­tres run by the GPs.

Its lo­ca­tion and fa­cil­i­ties aside, it is not linked to the hos­pi­tal. It is run in just the same way as our own GP’s prac­tice.

Af­ter nor­mal work­ing hours, it is staffed by lo­cal GPs and there­fore is in the same cat­e­gory as af­ter hours med­i­cal cen­tres in other places.

Most of us would re­mem­ber when there was a small af­ter hours cen­tre in Hartham Pl. It has sim­ply moved to the Kenepuru build­ing.

The other dif­fer­ence is the way in which ACC cov­ers ac­ci­dent cases.

Many, if not most, med­i­cal cen­tres and ser­vices charge a top-up fee over and above what ACC pays. Again, be­cause the Kenepuru clinic is not part of the hos­pi­tal ser­vice, that is what hap­pens.

ACC does pay a sub­sidy to the clinic, it seems, but many of us would be up­set by the amount de­manded of us.

In the mean­time, there are cases when the clinic pro­vides free ser­vice. For ex­am­ple:

Af­ter hours and ACC ser­vices for all chil­dren un­der-6.

If you are ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal or re­ferred to an­other spe­cial­ist depart­ment.

If you are sent by a doc­tor or other health pro­fes­sional.

The im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber is that if we can get in to our lo­cal GP, we should not head for the clinic at the hos­pi­tal. Af­ter hours, the clinic is where we go. Any­one who qual­i­fies for emer­gency treat­ment is sent, or taken, to Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal’s ac­ci­dent and emer­gency depart­ment.

Mean­while, last month, we learned what is now ex­pected of home own­ers in terms of in­sur­ing their house and contents. This month we have in­vited Ce­cilee Dono­van from Grand­par­ents Rais­ing Grand­chil­dren to ad­dress us.

I am sure you will find what she has to say in­ter­est­ing, es­pe­cially given the front page head­line in a re­cent is­sue of The Do­min­ion Post.

Why not come and learn about a great or­gan­i­sa­tion that is work­ing so hard for chil­dren?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.