ALMOST a third of obstetricians are considering quitting private practice due to changes to the Medicare safety net, which slash the amount patients can claim for pregnancy services.
… Most said they have had a drop in private bookings since the changes to the rebate and the majority said the fall had been between 10 and 40 per cent.
… Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon moved to cap Medicare safety net payments for women who use private obstetricians after the specialists were accused of raising fees to take advantage of the scheme …
… 49 per cent of 740 patients said they would use the public health system.
Obstetricians are losing business but what is really happening is an incentive for women to use primary care in pregnancy: a private midwife. Private midwives who have Medicare provider numbers are required to work collaboratively with obstetricians, hence assuring that there will always be a mechanism to provide for obstetric care for women who need these high-level services. The future of private maternity care sees women accessing midwifery care for the most part, and private obstetricians when needed, on referral from the midwife.