Blog – Why? Why? Why?

After a recent trip to the paediatrician with my kids, I was left wondering why people in the know don’t give us parents and carers useful information that could potentially save us, or entitle us, to some much needed money. The answer I think, is also money.

Before we could actually go to the Paediatricians we had to go to the doctor. My sons referral had expired, so first we had to go to the doctor to get a new referral – $55 later.  Because we then had a new referral for him, we had to pay the ‘new patient’ price of $180, even though we have been going to this Paediatrician for a couple of years now, for the same reason all along.

So off we go to the Paed. While we are chatting with the Paediatrician I ask him about some Care Programs that our lovely (and very helpful) Occupational Therapist told me we should be eligible for. After avoiding the question for a couple of minutes he realised I wasn’t going to let it go, and checked some of his information. “Ah yes, I’ll sort that out for you. You’ll be eligible for that for both the children.” Yay, a win! But if our OT hadn’t mentioned it, we would never have known about these things, that will save us hundreds of dollars for each of our kids.

Why is it so hard to find out this information? Why don’t doctors tell you? Why didn’t our Paed ever mention this to us? My guess is, money again – the governments money – no-one seems keen to tell you about what help you could be eligible for from the government. I’m grateful for any, as any parent or carer of a special needs child is, but if  I can access more to help my children, then I’m certainly going to do it! 

So after forking out $250 for both kids, the receptionist then told me something fantastic. “Next time you go to the doctor, make sure you ask for a lifetime referral, then you won’t have to pay that new patient price”.  Lifetime referral???? What the????? After standing in stunned silence for a few seconds, I finally asked “Why hasn’t anyone enywhere ever told me that you could get a lifetime referral?”. The receptionist smiled sweetly, “Why, then all the doctors would lose out on the their money wouldn’t they?”  Another piece of very useful information, that no-one has ever told me before. I know now, so when my daughters referral expires in a couple of months and I have to go back to the doctor to get a new one, Ill be asking for a lifetime referral – tee hee!

So, after thinking I’ve had a little bit of a victory gaining some new and useful information, I was quickly deflated when I waltzed into Medicare to claim the first session on the Care Program, to be told by the friendly Medicare Officer that the Paediatrician  hasn’t actually activated the Care Programs yet….

So I’ve gained some infomation, but haven’t actually gained the benefit yet… and now I have to chase the Paed up to make sure he gets it going, and backdates it… oh if only it were easy hey!

So the moral of the story is: ask about lifetime referrals, ask every medical professional/therapist you deal with  questions about what you may be entitled to …and cross your fingers!  Good luck !

Fiona :)

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