Surgery can be a new experience for some people. This little bit of information will help you.
Do I need a referral to make an appointment?
Most of the time your surgeon will accept only referred patients. This is partly to try to ensure that the specialist you are seeing is appropriate for you and your condition, and also because Medicare pays higher rebates for specialist services if you have been referred.
How can my family doctor help me to obtain specialist medical care?
Before seeing any surgical specialist, it is always preferable to talk to your own family doctor, who can discuss your condition with you and advise you on whether any specialist care is appropriate. If it is, he or she can help you to choose the specialist best suited to your needs. Your family doctor can help the specialist to care for you better by providing relevant information about your health. Communication between your specialist and family doctor will also assist in caring for you better during and after your specialist treatment.
Can I suggest that I want a particular doctor to do my surgery?
Yes that is your right. Do your research and see who is the right match for you in terms of experience, location and price. Remember a surgeon can charge what they like, it is up to you if you want to pay it. There is nothing wrong with calling up and asking the receptionist. What will this procedure cost me? Also ask for the item number to see what you will get back from medicare and your health fund. If there is a “out of pocket” then this is where a Surgery Payment Plan can help you.
What should I expect during the first visit?
During your initial visit, your surgeon will explain the specific procedure you want, help you visualise the results and go over the risks. They may do a physical examination and ask you a variety of questions. Once you go and have the test done then they will decide what your diagnosis is and appropriate treatment.
What should I bring with me when I come for a scheduled office appointment?
Apart from Medicare and your insurance information
•A referral from your General Practitioner
•All pertinent x-ray reports and test results from your primary care or referring physician. Actual imaging such CT, MRI is required for review. Images on CD is preferred to hard copies
•A list of all medications that you are currently taking
•A list of any known drug allergies and the symptoms you may have from taking these medicines (ask you General Practitioner to help you understand these and be tested if you are not sure)
•If you have had surgery elsewhere, please bring a copy of your operation report if relevant and possible
Are my medical records kept private and confidential?
Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. Office staff is bound by strict confidentiality requirements as a condition of employment regarding your medical records. Surgeons will not release the contents of your medical file without your consent.