What changes have you made during the COVID crisis?

You will notice some changes have been made both to the physical practice and the way we manage appointments, as a result of the COVID pandemic.

Toys, books and magazines have been minimised in our waiting rooms and the furniture spread out to facilitate social distancing.  Furnishings and toys are all wipeable and are cleaned regularly.  All surfaces continue to be cleaned regularly.  It would be helpful if you could bring some toys, books or games along to the appointment to help your child feel more at ease and to entertain them during the consultation.

Telehealth consultations are being offered in some circumstances and can be billed under the new Medicare item numbers specific to COVID, or if you live in eligible areas, under existing Medicare billing arrangements.  Please note a gap fee still applies to all consultations.  If it is necessary or convenient to have an appointment by telehealth, the practice will send an email with the details prior to your appointment. Video conferencing is our preferred method of remote consultation however if this is not possible you may be offered a telephone consultation.

If you are scheduled for a face-to-face appointment, please DO NOT attend if you or your child has any symptoms of respiratory illness.  While you may not be infected with Coronavirus and may even have had a negative swab, if our doctors or staff develop symptoms they are required to self-isolate and be tested, causing significant disruptions to the provision of care to other patients.  If attending face-to-face, only one parent or carer should attend and siblings should not attend; a second carer may participate in the consultation remotely via telephone.  Carers attending appointments should be fully vaccinated against Coronavirus.  If this is not the case, please contact the reception team to discuss strategies that will be used to minimise the risk to our staff, other patients and carers.  Please be aware that many of our patients have serious health conditions and contracting infectious illnesses can have life-threatening consequences for them.  If this will be difficult for you, please contact the practice to discuss the possibility of a telehealth consultation.

There may be limitations on the physical examination done by your doctor – body areas such as the ear, nose and throat may be considered too high-risk at present.  Your doctor will wear a face mask throughout your consultation to decrease the possibility of transmission during this period of close contact and may wear eye protection while examining your child.

When you arrive in the practice, carers and all children aged 5 or over will be asked to wear a face mask, use the available hand sanitiser and to maintain a distance of at least 1.5m from staff and other patients.

Please note we do not do Coronavirus testing and the practice is not equipped to manage the illness associated with Coronavirus infection.

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Why do I need a referral?

A valid referral is needed to access Medicare rebates for services provided by your paediatrician.  A GP referral is valid for 12 months and a specialist referral for 3 months. You can be seen by your paediatrician without a valid referral, but cannot claim the Medicare rebate until there is a valid referral in place, meaning you are responsible for the full fee.  GPs cannot be asked to provide a referral after the consultation has taken place (‘backdated referral’).

If your referral has expired or you are coming to see your paediatrician for a new problem, a new referral is required.  You cannot claim the Medicare rebate to see your paediatrician for a new problem under the referral for a past problem.

If you are seeing us for the first time, an appointment will not be made until you have sent us your referral – this is to ensure that you’re seeing the right person, at the right time.

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What is General Paediatrics?

General Paediatrics is a broad field delivering comprehensive care across many acute and chronic illnesses.  General Paediatricians provide expert diagnosis and management for children from birth through to adolescence, as they have the experience and knowledge to provide high quality care for complex conditions, for children who need further assessment to find the cause of problems, and those who require the input of multiple medical and surgical specialists. General Paediatricians provide guidance and leadership while advocating for the child as they work closely with families, general practitioners, other specialists, therapists and educators.

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What are your fees?

We are a private specialist practice, which means that we do not bulk bill.

Fees will vary depending on which specialist you see and whether you are seen for a new problem or for follow-up, as well as the complexity of your child’s condition.  Please discuss our fees with our helpful reception staff, who will be happy to answer your questions including the ‘gap’ that is payable.

We ask that your consultation fees are settled in full at the time of your appointment.  If you are experiencing financial difficulties please discuss this with our reception staff prior to booking your appointment. We accept EFTPOS, MasterCard and Visa payments. We do not accept cash payments.

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What is the Medicare rebate?

Medicare covers some of the cost of seeing a doctor and this is called the Medicare rebate. Unfortunately, the rebate has not kept up with the costs of running a medical practice and so there is a fee that is payable for your child’s consultation – the ‘gap’ fee.

If your medical costs are high because of lots of appointments or tests, there is additional  support available from Medicare once you have met the threshold in a calendar year, the ‘Medicare Safety Net’.  You still pay the same up-front fee but the rebate is higher and so your ‘out-of-pocket’ or ‘gap’ fee is lower.  For further information and to register for the Medicare Safety Net you can click on this link: Medicare Safety Net

The Extended Medicare Safety Net further supports you in paying out-of-pocket expenses once you reach an additional threshold. For further information see Extended Medicare Safety Net and Extended safety net thresholds

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How long is my appointment, and how many will I need?

Getting to know your child and family is very important to us and a vital part of formulating a comprehensive diagnosis and management plan.  Health issues can be complex and that’s why we take the time to explore your concerns – up to an hour for your initial appointment and up to half an hour for subsequent visits.

Depending on the diagnosis and the complexity of your child’s health needs, it may take several visits to fully evaluate all your concerns. Often, ongoing monitoring of your child’s condition and their response to management is necessary. Sometimes that relationship lasts throughout their childhood, while with other issues just a few appointments are required.

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Do you run on time?

We know your time is valuable and so make every effort to run on time.  Sometimes though, unforeseen problems do occur or unexpectedly complex issues arise that require additional attention and we ask for your patience when these delays occur. If a doctor is running well behind time we will endeavour to call you to let you know before you arrive.

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Do you give phone or email advice and results?

Excellent care is our priority and we have found that it is not possible to provide the level of care we would like to without a face-to-face or formal telehealth visit.

In most cases, you will be asked to make a follow-up appointment to allow us to discuss the results of your child’s tests and what they mean for your child’s ongoing health and wellbeing.  At times it may be appropriate for you to follow-up results with your referring doctor and this will be discussed with you at your appointment.

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Can you write my child a repeat script without an appointment? what about other paperwork?

Many of the medications prescribed by paediatricians are restricted medicines, cannot legally be prescribed without regular patient reviews and will require an appointment for prescription.

Repeat prescriptions for other medications can often be done by your GP.  It’s a good idea to have regular reviews with your GP – this may be a great opportunity to do so. If you would like your paediatrician to prescribe medications outside of appointment times, there is a script fee for this service and we require at least 5 working days’ notice.  Before providing a repeat prescription your clinician needs to review your child’s file and decide whether the medication is still appropriate; if this is unclear you will be asked to make a review appointment.

Prescriptions must be collected from the office. If urgent, the prescription may be faxed to your pharmacy however it must then be delivered to the pharmacy within 7 days.  Exceptions may be made for patients living remotely; please discuss this with our reception team.

Other paperwork, such as lost pathology and imaging requests, may be provided out of appointment times at the clinicians’ discretion and will incur an administration fee.  Complex paperwork including NDIS access requests requires an appointment due to the time taken to complete these forms.

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What if we can’t attend a booked appointment?

We ask that you give us at least 48 hours’ notice if you are unable to attend.  This allows us to offer the appointment to another child and family who are waiting to be seen. If you fail to attend your appointment with less than 48 hours’ notice, you may be charged a cancellation fee or be asked to pre-pay your next visit.

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Does my child have to attend the appointment?

It can be difficult to discuss all your concerns with your child present and we understand that. It may be helpful to bring along a trusted family member or friend who can sit with your child in the waiting area if you would like to speak to your paediatrician alone.  It is generally necessary for your paediatrician to speak with and examine your child in the process of formulating a list of concerns and possible diagnoses. Not having your child present for the consultation may prolong the process of diagnosis and starting treatment.

If you choose not to bring your child along to the appointment, it is important to know that you will be unable to access a Medicare rebate for that appointment.

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My partner and I are separated.  Do you have a policy on sharing information and shared decision making when parents are separated?

We believe your child’s health needs are best managed where there is open communication, shared decision making and consistency between parents.

When one parent has made an appointment, it is that parent’s responsibility to communicate all relevant information from that appointment to other caregivers and to invite the other parent to the appointment if they wish.  Letters and reports are provided to the referring doctor and if appropriate may also be sent to one or both parents.

Where there is shared parenting, please notify your paediatrician at your initial visit or provide any Family Court orders that are in place.

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How can we give you feedback?

We are dedicated to providing excellent care for your child and family and we welcome your comments or feedback that will help us to continue improving.  Please talk to your paediatrician or our reception staff, or you can email us at hello@foreverychild.com.au

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