Your first visit
When you are diagnosed with melanoma it is sometimes a life-changing situation to be in. At Melanoma Institute Australia we understand this. At your first appointment you will probably be seeing one of our surgeons. They will then explain to you the nature of your particular melanoma and the treatment options that will be available. The surgeon may refer you for further testing, or book you in for surgery at a later date. During the appointment you will be given information, but as you might have a lot on your mind it may be a good idea to bring a pen and paper to write things down or you may have a partner or friend who can accompany you. Similarly if you have questions you want to ask, write them down and bring along to your visit.
If you would like to be put in touch with one of our support services, whether that is our clinical nurse coordinator or a patient support group please let your doctor know. Many patients find talking to someone who has already been through this journey a great source of comfort and strength.
A referral from a general practitioner or specialist is required in order for you to receive the full specialist rebate from Medicare.
Referrals from general practitioners are valid for only 12 months. If the practitioner is willing for the referral to last longer, they should provide an indefinite referral, as accepted by Medicare. Please note that if you change doctors, the referral from your previous doctor is no longer valid.
Referrals from specialists are valid for three months only. If you are in doubt about whether your referral is current, please check when you schedule your next appointment.
If your referral is not current, you will need to obtain a new referral from your general practitioner before your scheduled appointment date. It is illegal for any doctor to provide retrospective referrals. If you do not have a current referral at the time of your consultation you will be unable to claim the Medicare rebate to which you would otherwise be entitled.
Schedule of Fees
You will be informed of the relevant consultation fee when you make an appointment for an initial or follow-up visit, and if a surgical procedure is recommended, you will be advised of the fee which applies for this procedure. Melanoma Institute specialist fees are generally consistent with those recommended by the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Association of Surgeons, which are charged by the majority of private practitioners in the community.
Rebates of either 75% or 85% of the scheduled fee amount (for inpatient and outpatient services respectively) are able to be claimed from Medicare, and private health fund rebates for the “gap” between the Medicare rebate and the scheduled fee can be claimed for inpatient services by those with private health insurance.
Special arrangements are possible for pensioners, holders of Veterans Affairs cards, full time self-supporting students and those in financial hardship.
Pathological findings are critically important in determining what treatment your specialist recommends. In order to ensure optimal patient care Melanoma Institute Australia requires each patient’s tissue to be reviewed by a specialist pathology consultant. The review of your biopsy may:
Confirm the original report
Upgrade or downgrade the degree of malignancy
Reverse or change the diagnosis
Modify the treatment your specialist recommends for you
The fee for this service generally ranges from $150 to $300 and is invoiced by the South Sydney West Area Finance Department. If you hold a pensioner concession card, a low income health card or a health care card you will be exempt from paying this fee.