Townsville Lower Limb Clinic, Orthopaedic Surgery, Townsville, North Queensland, Australia, Fiji Orthopaedic Surgery

Fee Structure

Firstly before we outline our fees, it is important you understand how fees are charged. In 1985, the Commonwealth Government introduced a scheme called the Medicare Benefits Scheme which covers all medical procedures for which there is a Medicare rebate. It lists item numbers for operations and consultations which then assigns a schedule fee and a benefit (which you as a patient can claim under the Medicare scheme).

The Medicare rebate is set at 75% of the schedule fee for in-hospital expenses (such as operations) and 85% of the schedule fee for out-of-hospital expenses (such as consultations). Over the years, the Medicare rebate has not kept in line with CPI. Now, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) set its own schedule of fees, which has increased to keep pace with inflation (the CPI). This fee is considerably more than the Medicare rebate. Dr Hazratwala's practice is an AMA practice. Due to the increased cost of providing health care and meeting insurance premium costs, Dr Hazratwala does not do GAP COVER and is not part of any health insurance alliance. Dr Hazratwala also sees patients from Workcover. Separate fee schedules are used for these patients and are typically billed directly to the appropriate organization. Dr Hazratwala does not offer discounts for Health Care Card holders. He attends The Townsville Hospital Out Patients for those in financial need.

Consultation Costs

First Consultation:

When you visit Dr Hazratwala for the first time, you will be charged a long consultation fee as Dr Hazratwala needs to spend extra time with you gathering your medical history. You will receive a portion of this visit's fee back through the Medicare rebate. Private health funds do not cover treatments with medical specialists that are conducted outside a hospital setting, also known as Out Patient treatment.

Subsequent Consultation:

A lower fee is charged when you see the doctor again. This is because less time is usually needed once the doctor has become familiar with your condition.

Post Operative Consultation:

Dr Hazratwala typically does not charge for six post-operative consults. This is part of the operative fee. If you should require further surgery in the immediate post-operative phase, there will be NO further out of pocket expenses. This is covered with the initial operative fee.

Payment of Fees

Our staff will outline the exact costs to you when you ring for an appointment. We ask for full payment at the time of the appointment, accepting cash, cheques, EFTPOS and most credit cards (not American Express or Diners Card). You will receive an invoice from these consultations and then you may take this to Medicare for a rebate. If you are a Workcover patient, you must bring with you your claim number so we can make a claim on your behalf. If you do not provide this then you will be responsible for payment.

Extra Costs

If a procedure is performed at the time of the consultation (for example a joint injection), you will be charged for this and again you may use your detailed invoice and receipt to claim your Medicare rebate.

What should I bring to my consultation?

  1. Your referral letter from your GP (without this referral you will not be able to claim through Medicare)
  2. X-rays, scans and any other information that you have from your GP
  3. Medication history
  4. Health insurance details
  5. Workcover claim details, if applicable
  6. Any family members or friends you may want to have present to help in the discussion and decision making process
  7. A written list of questions you may have

Surgical Fees

Once Dr Hazratwala has informed you of the need for an operation, our staff will give you an estimate of the costs for your particular surgery. Each operation has a different item number and fee. As well, each health fund has a different policy for payment to both patients and doctors. This makes the estimate and billing process all that much more difficult to navigate. It would be wise to talk to your health fund to ensure your level of cover prior to your surgery.

The estimate we provide to you will include the costs for Dr Hazratwala only. There will be three other charges you have to consider as part of your treatment. One is for the Surgical Assistant. You will be given his contact details and an item number to quote over the phone. The Assistant fee is set at 20% of the Surgeon. The other two fees will be from the Anaesthetist and the Private Hospital, depending on your level of cover.

Dr Hazratwala's fee has to be paid in full at least three days prior to surgery. You will receive a receipt for your payment. Once the surgery has been performed, you will be given a detailed receipt with item numbers that you can take to your health fund and Medicare for your rebate.

We will also provide you with the Anaesthetist's name and practice contact details and it is important that you make contact with this Anaesthetist to determine his costs. The fees charged by the Anaesthetist are separate from the fees charged by the hospital or by Dr Hazratwala. The anaesthestic fees vary dependent upon the complexity and duration of the anaesthesia. It is your responsibility to pay the Anaesthetist for the services he provides. You may be able to claim a rebate from Medicare as well as from your private health fund (assuming you have private health insurance). Depending on the surgical procedure and your medical health, Dr Hazratwala may require you to have a consultation with a Specialist Physician prior to your surgery. We can make this appointment for you. You will be responsible for the fee charged by this Physician. Depending upon your level of private health insurance, you may also receive an account from the Hospital, Radiology, Pharmacy or Physiotherapy. There may also be costs for rehabilitation devices such as knee braces or crutches. These accounts generally arrive after your surgery and are separate and independent of Dr Hazratwala's cost. Our secretary will be able to advise you in relation to gaining quotes for such items.

Please remember that this is a quotation only and Dr Hazratwala may have to do more or, in some cases, less than initially expected which could cause a difference in costs to those originally quoted.

Trauma Procedures

By its very nature, Orthopaedic Trauma work can be quite difficult, often is not timed conveniently and can be distressing for the patient. Despite this, Dr Hazratwala has a particular interest in the management of trauma and has spent considerable years of training, gaining additional expertise in this area. The Medicare recommended fees are not commensurate with equivalent elective procedures. Added to this is the after hours nature of this work and follow-up care. It is for this reason that Dr Hazratwala charges (for trauma procedures only) the AMA recommended fees if performed on his routine operating list. If the procedure is done out of hours as a matter of emergency, the fees charged will reflect the complexity of the case and the surgical time.

Summary

Estimating the costs for surgical procedures does appear quite complicated and our staff will do their best to help you understand these costs within the private health care framework. It is very important that you understand and are well informed regarding your financial commitment to Dr Hazratwala prior to your surgery. Please do not hesitate to call us any time to discuss any financial concerns you may have.

Dr Hazratwala recommends getting in touch with your health fund and Medicare to get an exact figure of your rebate on the fees charged.