Dear Health Minister,
Thank you for offering to pay 80% of the cost of this compressed garment. I should be grateful but I’m afraid this would be unfair to the tax payers to pay $916.64 as I believe it is an unfair and inflated price. I believe it’s a swindle, a scam or simply profiteering.
My physiotherapist told me that I could apply for funding when I complained about the cost. I duly applied and was pleased to hear that I qualify for 80% funding. I expected my next bill would be under $50. When the invoice came at $229.16; I was shocked. It seems getting funding means the supplier now charge so much that my 20% contribution is higher than what I’d paid (100%) previously.
What to do next? I spoke to ‘Invoice Enquiries’ at HealthShare NSW who said they’re just clerks and I have to pay what it says on the bill. I spoke to EnableNSW, the body that manages the funding who simply said I signed the consent form to pay 20% so I must pay. I cancelled my next appointment with my physiotherapist. The medical centre manager immediately claimed to have no connection to the whole affair though added that many of their patients get their equipment through Enable NSW without complaint. Risk management, I believe they call it.
I wrote to Health Care Complaints Commission with the story and awaiting their reply. My plan is to write to Choice, the consumer advocacy body, Department of Fair Trading, and the ABC who has a consumer affairs programme. Maybe the shadow Health Minister would be interested. I will also track down the supplier and send a complaint.
How many patients are being billed ridiculous amounts of money believing that they are being helped? How much money has the government paid to suppliers without checking what they are paying for? Are they relying on the say-so of medical professionals who do not accept the duty of care? The taxpayers’ contribution to my sleeve alone is $916.64.
Who to blame? Whatever the medical centre says, I think the physiotherapist should not have recommended the scheme if she didn’t know the actual price I would be charged, but I believe she did. She led me to believe that I will pay much less than I had previously. The medical centre manager also insisted that no financial incentives were offered to the therapist by the supplier, but how can she be so sure? Will we ever know?