Sound too good to be true? Actually, The Access Program is a real and functioning initiative of Integrated Specialist Healthcare (ISHCERF) and MQ Health in a collaboration to offer Australians affordable health care, particularly for specialist treatments and surgical procedures. Professor Dr Anand Deva, Plastic Surgeon, is one of the founders of the initiative and he spoke to us about how The Access Program offers plastic surgery at little to no cost for its recipients.
What is The Access Program?
Even those with private health insurance find it increasingly difficult to afford the out-of-pocket costs so often associated with specialist treatments and surgical procedures. Medicare is also drastically reducing the amount of procedures available for rebates, and quite often the rebates don’t do much to put a dent in the overall out of pocket costs expected to be paid by the patient. This is leading to many patients, even those with private health insurance, lining up to access the public health system putting even more pressure on an already overloaded system.
Currently only available to patients with private health cover where their cover also includes associated hospital costs for the procedures included in The Access Program, this initiative is helping patients all over Australia get the treatment and procedures they so desperately want and need. It runs as a not-for-profit organisation and is largely operational due to the contribution of surgeons who contribute their time and resources to perform the procedures at little to no cost at all. Prof. Deva says, “These specialists have signalled their intent to be altruistic and support your need for these procedures over and above financial considerations.” With private health insurance covering the hospital stay and hopefully all other costs, this greatly reduces or even eliminates any out of pocket costs for the patient.
Currently, the procedures and treatments available under the scheme are:
- Post weight loss surgery
- Breast implant revision surgery
- Breast reduction surgery
- Bariatric surgery
Prof. Deva says, “Whilst not life threatening, if gone untreated, these conditions can have devastating physical, emotional and physiological consequences for patients and can impact on their quality of life.”
Prof. Deva adds that all applicants to the scheme are assessed with regards to their need and personal and financial circumstances. The Access Program may require patients to divulge additional information about their situation in order to be considered. “If you do not have private health cover, or are unsure about your level of cover, please consider contacting a private health insurance provider to ensure this is in place prior to submitting your application. Access favours a known gap scheme. Please enquire if your health fund provides this option before you apply.”
If you’d like more information on The Access Program visit the website here.