AUSTRALIA'S health system from today begins a landmark change, extending Medicare into what has traditionally been doctors' territory by paying benefits to ... midwives and their patients for the first time.
... the changes give ... midwives the potential income to operate outside the public system.
Strictly speaking, this statement is incorrect: midwives have always had the potential income to operate outside of the hospital system; Medicare makes this more affordable however, so that more and more families will be able to benefit from private midwifery care.
... Health Minister Nicola Roxon says the ... changes are ''momentous … and a great day for patients who will be able to claim a rebate, and benefit from better access, closer to home in a wider range of settings''.
... midwives will also be able to prescribe a specific range of medicines that will attract Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidies in the same way as if prescribed by a doctor.
... midwives will be able to provide ante-natal care, delivery and post-birth services for benefits ranging from $23.35 for a short ante-natal service up to $543.60 for a confinement and delivery.
Ms Roxon said the changes would give patients more choice in their primary health care provider, although ... midwives would be required to work in collaboration with doctors.
Essential Birth Consulting has applied to be a Medicare-Eligible practice.