Many affected by chronic pain – inMyCommunity – Perth, Western Australia

Many affected by chronic pain – inMyCommunity – Perth, Western Australia.

Many affected by chronic pain

26/Jul/2013

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call for radiology to be indexedcall for radiology to be indexed

A LOCAL radiology worker has welcomed a call for the Federal Government to close the gap in fees for medical imaging.

The Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association (ADIA) has used National Pain Week (July 22-28) to raise concerns for those living with chronic pain conditions.

Rockingham SKG Radiology office manager Kylie Parrott told the Courier many people living with chronic pain in Rockingham and Kwinana avoided going to SKG because they could not afford the procedures.

Medicare rebates for medical imaging, including X-rays and CT scans, have not been indexed since 1998, forcing people seeking radiology services to cover the gap. Over the past 15 years, the gap has steadily increased by 10 per cent per annum, according to ADIA president Sue Ulreich.

Mrs Parrott said a large number of people in the area were affected by chronic pain.

“A lot of patients are working people who need to get better so they can return to work,” she said. “These people are forced to pay the gap or run into an out-of-pocket experience.

“A good example of costs is an ultrasound guided injection, which costs around three times more than what the Medicare rebate pays, so it’s vitally important for radiology to be indexed.

“Public hospitals do not tend to provide imaging guided injections so the majority of injections by radiology for chronic pain have to be done in community practices like ours, so there is nowhere else to go.”

Dr Ulreich said pain was the third most common cause for people seeking medical imaging, behind arthritis and cancer.

“The reality is that many imaging services can not be bulk-billed under Medicare and the cost of providing quality imaging services is much higher than (the) Medicare fee,” she said.

“We want to work with the Government to develop a sustainable solution that will improve Medicare rebates for patients experiencing pain.”

In the past six months, the ADIA has received more than 1000 letters from people voicing their concerns about the increasing costs of medical imaging.

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