Initial consultation by Dr Loch-Wilkinson will involve taking a history of your present complaint as well as your past medical history and a physical examination. Examinations for spine and peripheral nerve conditions may require you to loosen or remove some clothing for adequate examination of the back and limbs. For this, some patients are more comfortable wearing a swimming costume as an under garment for the examination. Dr Loch-Wilkinson may take clinical photographs with your permission to be part of your medical record.
Following this, Dr Loch-Wilkinson will review any investigations or imaging that you have had and will explain the findings to you. If you require additional investigations these will be arranged, and a follow up appointment scheduled if needed.
The initial consultation is usually scheduled for 30 minutes. This will be extended if your problem is complex and needs more time to sort out.
Follow up consultations may be required to review the results of tests or further investigations or to provide ongoing monitoring of your condition. Follow up consultations are usually scheduled for 15 minutes but may be extended if more time is required.
Consultation fees are partially reimbursed by Medicare. There is no charge for a first post-operative follow up consultation as this is included in the surgical fee.
METHODS OF PAYMENT
At the end of the consultation the reception staff will provide you with an invoice. Payment is required at the time of consultation. Payment may be made by EFTPOS or credit card. We are able to electronically submit a paid invoice to Medicare on your behalf.
Dr Loch-Wilkinson will regularly visit you during your admission in hospital following your surgery. This is included as part of your surgical fee. Following discharge from surgery, a follow up appointment will usually be arranged between one and six weeks depending on the procedure. The first post-operative consultation following discharge is included in the surgical fee.
If surgery is recommended a quote will be given to you detailing any planned surgery including the associated Medicare item numbers and descriptors. With any surgical procedure the intra operative findings may require modification of the surgery to get the best result, in which case there may be some alteration to the item numbers and subsequent cost.
There may be further fees for services provided by other doctors such as your anaesthetist. For hospital fees, most health funds have arrangements with hospitals such that there are limited, if any, out of pocket expenses (excluding of course any co-payment that you have opted for with your insurer). There may be some minor incidental fees dependent upon hospital arrangement with suppliers and varying rates of reimbursement. You can enquire about these through the hospital if you are concerned.
This practice accepts benefits paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs as full payment of consultation and surgical fees.
RECENT CHANGES TO PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE COVER FOR SPINAL CONDITIONS
A number of health funds have introduced exclusions to some of their policies for spinal conditions or for some types of spinal surgery. This will usually not affect those with top cover. However, those on lower tier policies may not be covered for the surgical costs of spinal surgery in a private hospital. We recommend you check your policy.