Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Midwife Medicare Provider Number

The Department of Human Services Medicare Australia has allocated a Provider Number to Mrs Joyce Johnston [that's me, the villagemidwife], Aitex Private Midwifery Services, at 25 Eley Rd Blackburn South, Victoria 3130, effective 22/09/2011. The Provider Number is for the purpose of rendering accounts for approved Medicare services performed and for requesting certain diagnostic imaging and pathology services while working in a private capacity.
As a Medicare-authorised midwife, there is scheduled fee for each item, from which rebates are calculated [variation in amount payable depends on a person's safety net].  For example:

  • Initial antenatal professional attendance (history) [Item # 82100] $51.35 
  • Short antenatal consultation (less than 40 minutes) [Item # 82105] $31.10 
  • Long antenatal consultation (more than 40 minutes) [Item # 82110] $51.35 
  • Maternity Care Plan meeting after 20 weeks (at least 90 minutes) [Item # 82115] $306.90 
  • Attendance for labour and birth planned hospital birth (when midwife has visiting access) [Item # 82120] $724.75 
  • Short postnatal consultations in your home (less than 40 minutes) [Item # 82130] $51.35 
  • Long postnatal consultations in your home (more than 40 minutes) [Item # 82135] $75.55 
  • 6-7 week postnatal review of mother and baby [Item # 82140] $51.35 
These amounts are substantial. The main reason I have applied for the Medicare-eligibility notation is to avail my clients of these rebates. Most of my clients are not privately insured; most appear to be stretching themselves financially to afford a private midwife.  

Dear reader, 
I am currently working through the masses of information related to Medicare. 

I am exploring options for the 'collaborative arrangements' that will meet the government's requirements, and enable my clients to claim their rebates, without subjecting myself to supervision of my practice by an obstetrician. 

I am considering new options for charging a reasonable fee. For example, since there is no Medicare rebate for a midwife's attendance at homebirth, perhaps the 'birth' component of the fee can be incorporated elsewhere, such as with the booking, in the fee package. I am considering a 'booking fee' that covers 'everything', and subsequent bulk billing for services provided. I hope to have an EFTPOS terminal that will process payments directly to bank accounts. 

I am wondering if a field of midwifery practice, postnatal care in the home, will become more available through Midwives with Medicare. In the past, postnatal visits have added substantially to the cost of private midwifery care. However, if a woman is able to claim a rebate of $75.55 for each postnatal visit, and there is no limit on the number of times a service is performed and the rebate is claimed, consistent postnatal care will surely appear more affordable. 

I am hoping I will be able to support more mothers and babies who are having difficulties with establishing breastfeeding, and mothers and babies who are facing the dark possibility of postnatal depression. 
This option does not fit the ideal of continuity of carer through the childbearing continuum, but for the woman who gets postnatal care from one skilled midwife, that’s continuity, and with Medicare it’s much more affordable than it has been until now. 
Other Medicare-authorised midwives are setting up postnatal ‘day stay’ options to work with mothers and their babies in their rooms. ... 
There are many new possibilities. There is no limit on the number of times a woman claims rebate for antenatal or postnatal care from a Medicare-authorised midwife. [watch this space, and linked blogs!]

A summary of 'New Arrangements for Midwives' - factsheet-spin - is available as a .pdf here.

Thankyou for your comments.

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