A LANDMARK change in the health system starts today - Medicare will be extended into what has traditionally been doctors' territory, paying benefits to nurse practitioners and midwives and their patients for the first time.
Although the number of nurses providing services on a fee-for-service basis in the private sector is expected to be small initially, the changes give nurse practitioners and midwives the potential income to operate outside the public system.
... The Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, says the nurse and midwife 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''.
Nurses and midwives will also be able to prescribe specific medicines that will attract Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidies in the same way as if prescribed by a doctor.
... midwives will be able to provide antenatal care, delivery and post-birth services for benefits ranging from $23.35 for a short antenatal service up to $543.60 for a confinement and delivery.