The eye health of Australian kids was given a massive boost today with the Federal Government approving a 50 per cent increase in the Medicare patient rebate for initial paediatric ophthalmology consultations.
President of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), Dr Bill Glasson AO, said today that the Government‟s announcement displays a solid commitment to maintaining and improving the sight of young Australians.
“This decision is visionary in every sense of the word,” Dr Glasson said.
“We acknowledge the personal interest and efforts of Health Minister Nicola Roxon in reaching this positive health outcome.
“RANZCO has worked closely with the Minister‟s office and the Department of Health and Ageing‟s Medicare Branch for the past 18 months, reviewing patient ophthalmology-related item numbers on the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
“The 50 per cent increase to Medicare item number 109 will ensure that children have greater access to eye care at the critical stages in their early development.
“Good vision is crucial for the optimum wellbeing, growth and development of our children. Australian families will be the big winners, comfortable in the knowledge that quality eye care for their children is more affordable and accessible.
“This outcome shows what can be achieved in health policy through meaningful consultation between the Government and clinical experts,” Dr Glasson said.
The Medicare Item Number 109 refers to the „initial specialist ophthalmologist paediatric attendance‟ – a consultation at which a comprehensive eye examination is performed on a child aged eight years or under (or on a child aged 14 years or under with developmental delay) where the examination involves an additional level of complexity.