When you ring for an appointment, our secretaries will advise you of the consultation fee. The initial consultation fee is for a visit of up to 30 minutes which generally covers most conditions. There is an extra time-based charge for consultations longer than 30 minutes. We ask for full payment at the time of the appointment (cash, cheque, EFTPOS, Visa or Mastercard). Once you have paid the account, we are able to send your claim online to Medicare if Medicare has your bank account details. Just remember to bring your Medicare card. You will receive a portion of the consultation fee back through the Medicare rebate. Our staff will be able to tell you the exact amount.
WorkCover patients: We ask that you pay for your initial consultation in full at the time of your visit. You can then claim the WorkCover fee back from WorkCover. For subsequent consultations and providing you have supplied us with a current claim number, we will send the account direct to WorkCover.
Subsequent consultations generally will be charged at a lower fee because they usually take less time once Dr Wheatley has become familiar with you and your condition.
Depending on the operation, the cost of some of your postoperative visits is included in the surgical fee.
Dr Wheatley’s Fees
Once you have decided to proceed to surgery, our secretaries will prepare an estimate of Dr Wheatley’s fees. The estimate will outline Dr Wheatley’s fees, the amount of Medicare and private health fund rebates and the remaining out-of-pocket difference or “gap” (see Gaps and GapCover). Each operation has one or more item numbers which are used to work out the cost. In most cases the estimate will be accurate but it may vary if something different or extra needs to be done at the time of surgery.
If you have private health insurance: For some procedures we are able to offer Known Gap billing using your health fund’s Gap Cover scheme. This will depend on your plan eligibility and which procedure you are having. With Known Gap billing, we ask that you pay the Known Gap prior to surgery. Following surgery, we will send the balance of the account direct to your health fund. If you are having a procedure where we are unable to offer Known Gap billing, the account for surgery will be sent to you after you leave hospital. We offer a 5% discount off the fee if payment is made within 10 days of us sending the account (cash, cheque, EFTPOS, Visa or Mastercard). We are able to process credit card payments by phone. We will send you a receipt for you to claim from Medicare and your health fund.
If you do not have private health insurance, we can work with the hospital to prepare an estimate of your expenses. We ask for full payment prior to surgery in this case. Pre-payment will also be required by the surgical assistant, the anaesthetist and the hospital.
The Assistant’s Fees
Dr Wheatley uses an assistant for most procedures. The assistant will send you or your health fund a separate account which generally will be fully covered by Medicare and your health fund.
The Anaesthetist’s Fees
The anaesthetist’s office staff will contact you prior to your surgery with an estimate of the anaesthetic fee. There will be a gap between the fee charged and the rebates paid by Medicare and your health fund. The anaesthetist may require payment prior to the surgery.
The hospital will charge you or your health fund for
- The hospital bed – this is charged according to the number of days you are in hospital.
- The operating theatre – the theatre fee varies depending on the length and complexity of the operation.
- Prostheses and implants – many operations require prostheses and implants such as hip and knee replacements, plates, screws and rods.
- High Dependency Unit – if you need to go to the HDU, there will be extra costs.
If you have private health insurance and depending on your policy, the health fund will generally pay the majority of the hospital fees outlined above. The hospital will send the account direct to the health fund. The hospital will bill you for any excesses and co-payments your policy may have. It is very important that you contact your health fund before your hospital admission to check your level of insurance cover and what excesses and co-payments are payable.
If you do not have private health insurance, the hospital will require pre-payment of fees before admission.
These may include medications, blood tests, x-rays and physiotherapy. You may also need rehabilitation devices such as crutches or braces.
Depending on the operation and your health status, Dr Wheatley may ask you to have a consultation with a General Physician or other specialist prior to surgery. If there are complications or health concerns post surgery, Dr Wheatley may ask another specialist to see you in hospital.
Our staff is happy to advise you further and assist you in understanding the costs of your procedure. Please call us to discuss any financial concerns you may have.