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MRI Scans – What They Don’t Tell You!

By kenk - 21 July 2007 15

Needing a MRI scan, I made an appointment at my usual imaging mob. They told me what it would cost but they did NOT tell me that, if I got it done at the mob over the road, rather than with them,it would be covered by Medicare. A saving of hundreds of dollars.

Apparently the Government only recognises a limited number of MRI machines for Medicare purposes but imaging firms are free to buy them in the hope that they will get enough custom even without Medicare cover. Fair enough provided they WARN people that they are about to get ripped off.

When booking a scan make sure to check that you will be entitled to Medicare reimbursement. If your doctor hands you a referral naming a particular provider ask him whether it is Medicare-approved and, if not, get an open referral or one to a firm covered by medicare.

[ED (Ntp) – Anyone know which imaging firms in Canberra are and aren’t Medicare approved?]

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
MRI Scans – What They Don’t Tell You!
niftydog 9:51 am 25 Jul 07

So does anybody know what sort of waiting time there is to access the MRI at Can. Hosp.?

Sasha 12:20 am 25 Jul 07

Don’t start me on the medical profession – especially in this town. Elsewhere in the country, there are practitioners who actually care about the wellbeing of the patient more than the money. The doctors in this town give the medical profession a bad name. Still I s’pose if they were any good, they’d be in Sydney or Melbourne, leaving the rest for us!

gun street girl 4:10 pm 24 Jul 07

Niftydog, your info is incorrect RE MRIs at TCH. Outpatient (cancer and non cancer related) scans constitute a huge revenue for the department.

xman 3:50 pm 24 Jul 07

Same thing applies to pathology tests – use ACT Pathology and it’s all covered by Medicare. Use the private pathology firm that has a cosy relationship with your GP and it’ll cost you.

kenk 10:55 am 24 Jul 07

As I said above, there is one medicare-approved place – National Capital Imaging, Canberra Specialist Centre, 161 Strickland Crescent, Deakin, Canberra 2600 .

I have used it and got a medicare refund (though, from memory, there was a pretty hefty ‘gap’).

Thumper 8:53 am 24 Jul 07

Ha, House is just Lieutenant George from Blackadder (albeit, with a nsty attitude, an American accent, and more brains…)

captainwhorebags 8:05 am 24 Jul 07

Pfft, Dr House never has a problem getting access to an MRI, PET or CT machine. This must be the third world!

I’d say that if you have a need for an MRI, then you’d get referred by a specialist and could be booked in to use the one at the hospital. You’d no doubt be waiting for months though, as inpatients would have priority.

niftydog 2:41 pm 23 Jul 07

My information is that the MRI located within Canberra Hospital is for cancer patients or admitted patients only. Meaning the ONLY MRI in the whole region that can be used for “elective” purposes is the one that you pay full bottle for at John James.

Can anyone confirm that information?!!?

flyingblind 9:39 am 23 Jul 07

Very handy info, shame the buggers don’t disclose this kind of stuff.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 9:37 am 23 Jul 07

I think the medical services industry is long overdue for some serious attention and reform, especially around the wild variation on prices that occurs across providers. Also, I can’t believe I have to buy medical insurance (or I’m hit with extra tax) that doesn’t cover me past certain levels, and that service providers charge whatever they like and I’m not covered properly! Imagine if we had car insurance where they said “yeah you hit a roo and it will cost 5 grand to fix, but we only cover the first 1545 dollars”!

kenk 4:34 pm 22 Jul 07

This is the link to the list:
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/wcms/Publishing.nsf/Content/haf-docs-mrilist-fac_act.htm

and this is the list:
# ACT Health, Canberra Hospital, Yamba Drive, Garran, Canberra 2605 (LSPN 15)
# National Capital Imaging, Canberra Specialist Centre, 161 Strickland Crescent, Deakin, Canberra 2600 (LSPN 504)
I might add that the Medicare site search was useless for this – Google search found it in one.

sepi 9:53 pm 21 Jul 07

Wow – I’ve always paid up too.

Can you take any referral to the free places?

JJJmonkey 9:36 pm 21 Jul 07

There is a place upstairs from the Free Medical Clinic in Phillip… I know that they at least do free ultrasounds, but they get booked out pretty quickly, so you generally have to wait.

threeze 9:07 pm 21 Jul 07

I always ask when going to any private practise how much something is going to cost me personally BEFORE i have the procedure done.

ant 8:06 pm 21 Jul 07

I never realised this until today, comparing notes with family. I went to Canberra Imaging at John James (referred by doctor) and paid the entire lot, and was amazed when the money person said that none of it was claimable. I would like to know who are the claimable ones as I’ll probably need another one soonish.

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