How are fees charged?
- Fees charged depend on the service provided. If requested we can give you an estimate of consultation fees.
- Payment is required at the time of service
- Specific item numbers can be provided so that you can check with your health funds for out of pocket expenses. We are unable to give you accurate estimates for out of pocket expenses as private health rebates vary greatly.
- Repayment options may also be offered by negotiation for extended services with large out of pocket expenses such as surgery.
Can I claim for Podiatry services and do I need a referral?
Private Health Insurance
- Private health funds provide rebates for a range of Podiatry & Podiatric Surgery services. Some insurers do not include podiatry so you are advised to check with your health fund to see if you are covered.
- We provide HICAPS for “on the spot claims” processing and accept most forms of payment including EFTPOS, Visa and Mastercard and AMEX.
- Rebates vary greatly between insurers and the type of services provided.
- Referrals are not required for private health insurance rebates
Medicare – GP Care Plans
- Medicare rebates are only available under the Enhanced Primary Care Program coordinated by your GP. To qualify for this you need to have a chronic disease such as diabetes.
- Podiatric surgery and foot orthoses are not covered by Medicare (but should! we are lobbying for this).
- A referral is required from your general practitioner for this type of medicare funded service, but not for private or health insurance funded services. The cost of visiting your GP may erode any perceived financial benefit so you may be better off booking without this type of referral.
- A comprehensive range of podiatry services are fully covered for Department of Veterans Affairs card holders
- A referral is required from your general practitioner.
Worker Compensation and Third Party Injury Claims
- If the treatment you are being provided is the subject of a third party or Work cover injury claim we will require the billing address for your claims coordinator or solicitor and claim number
- We also suggest that before making an appointment you clarify that your claim has been accepted as you will be responsible for the cost associated with any treatment.
- Once you have reached the threshold for out of pocket medical expenses, all of your expenses not covered by private insurance or Medicare associated with the provision of podiatry services can also be claimed as a tax deduction.
- For further advice speak to your accountant or tax advisor.
What are the costs associated with Podiatric Surgery and where do I claim for these?
- Apart from the surgeons fees there are a number of other costs to consider. The majority of these costs are associated with theatre fees, hospital bed stay fees (where applicable), anaesthetic fees, pathology, radiology services, and medications.
- Podiatric surgery is currently not covered under Medicare.
- Part of the Podiatric surgeon’s fees are covered by most private health funds.
- All health funds are required to pay for some of the hospital costs and any prostheses (screws pins joint replacements) used during the surgery
- It is often our experience that while other providers of foot surgery such as orthopaedic surgeons do attract a Medicare rebate, the fees they charge are generally much higher so the out of pocket expense can often be similar.
- Podiatric surgeons also provide more comprehensive after care and include all bandages, dressings, casts, post-operative shoes, and other requirements in the cost of your surgery.
- You should also keep all of your receipts for other services such as hospital, anaesthetist, x rays and other imaging services as once you have reached a threshold amount a tax deduction for medical expenses can be claimed. Speak to your accountant for further advice.
Why do rebates for Podiatric Surgery seem so low?
- The disparity of funding for podiatric surgery has been of concern for a long time. The Australian Association of Podiatric Surgeons (AAPS) is continuing to lobby the government and private health insurance industry to fix what is viewed an anti-competitive and discriminatory practice. While this issue has been recognised as an area for concern, governments and industry are slow to react. You should contact your local federal MP if you feel strongly about this, as your choices are limited by government policy.
What are my options if my private health insurance company has limited cover for podiatric surgery?
- Change your health insurance to one that does choose to cover some or all of this service. We can give you some ideas of which health funds provide better rebates.
- Lobby your fund to change their policy or provide you what is called an “ex-gratia” payment.
- I have access to day surgery hospitals where fees can be negotiated at a cheaper rate. You may be surprised by how reasonable these rates are!
Health funds often do not live up to their promises particularly when you consider the premiums you pay for private health insurance. One reason people have private insurance is so that they have a choice as to their health care provider.
What is a podiatric surgeon?
Podiatric Surgeons are podiatrists who have completed post graduate study to obtain Specialist Registration under Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA). Dr Burke Hugo has completed a Doctor of Clinical Podiatry Degree in podiatric surgery at the University of Western Australia
This type of training provides advanced skills in understanding the complexity of the foot and lower leg, and qualifies Dr Hugo to use both surgical and non-surgical methods when treating the foot and its related structures.
Podiatric Surgeons only recommend surgery after having considered all avenues of conservative treatment. Since Podiatric Surgeons are dual registered as both surgeons and Podiatrists, they can offer comprehensive treatment programs.
Podiatric Surgeons are recognised Specialists by law
Podiatric Surgery is a recognised specialty under the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority. Podiatrists who are recognised to perform surgery are registered specialists with the Podiatry Board of Australia, and are eligible for fellowship of the Australian Association of Podiatric Surgeons (FAAPS). Dr Burke Hugo is Vice President and a Fellow of the AAPS.
Post Operation Pain
In most cases there is surprisingly little pain or discomfort. This is due to techniques and advances in anaesthesia and medication. However, everybody’s pain threshold is different. Most procedures as day surgery, and patients can walk straight away, but may require a special shoe or boot.
The foot usually heals well with minimal scarring. Many scars are hardly visible after about 12 months. If you or your family have a history of keloid or hypertrophic scarring then you are at increased risk. Please discuss this at the time of your appointment.
Success and Podiatric Surgery
Research performed overseas and in Australia has shown that outcomes from surgery to the foot and ankle as performed by Podiatric Surgeons are very good but as with any surgery there can be no guarantees. One of the most important factors is the feeling of trust and communication you develop with your surgeon. Most complaints are due to either the patient or surgeon not clearly communicating expectations. If you have any doubts you should obtain a second opinion.
Surgical risks and complications
Surgery of any type carries risks and potential for unwanted complications. Surgeon’s should clearly explain these risks in a way you easily understand. When signing consent forms for surgery, this means you are giving ‘Informed Consent’. This means that you have all the information needed to make an informed decision. Dr Burke Hugo takes time to do this, since he understands good communication improves outcomes and patient satisfaction.