December 2016

Bupa reduces costs for eye surgical treatments (click here to view pdf)
As Australia’s healthcare costs continue to rise, I’m proud that Tasmanians will be the first to be provided with a pioneering new offer that shows how health care providers and health care funds can work together to deliver more affordable care.

An agreement between eye disease specialist Tasmanian Eye Clinics (TEC) and one of the country’s leading health and care companies, Bupa, will benefit Tasmanians by delivering reduced costs for eye surgical treatments.

In terms of delivering better value for consumers, the deal ensures that in-hospital medical costs for surgical procedures such as cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration surgery will be fully covered for Bupa members if they go to Tasmanian Eye Clinics.

This means no out-of-pocket surprises – the biggest bug-bear for private health insurance members – for all in-hospital medical costs associated with applicable eye surgical procedures.

Out-of-pocket fees happen when your specialist and/or any other doctors involved in your hospital care charge more than the Government’s set pricing for that specific treatment in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Bupa’s Medical Gap Scheme rates are set above the Government’s set pricing to help eliminate or reduce these out-of-pocket fees. But any provider charges above our Gap Scheme rates lead to higher out-of-pocket fees, so we’re constantly looking for ways to reduce this unexpected sting and help our customers make informed decisions before undergoing treatment.
A partnership like this – between providers and insurers – is vital to reducing private health costs, and in turn supporting a strong public health system.

Managing Director of Tasmanian Eye Clinics, Dr Gordon Wise, and his team of eye specialists, tells us this a significant deal with major benefits for Tasmanians. Dr Wise says he expects demand for their services to grow on the back of Bupa’s strong market share as a provider of private health insurance for Tasmanians. But more importantly Dr Wise says, it means patients now don’t have to worry about what they will have to pay. It will be totally covered if they are with Bupa.

The challenge for all of us is how we continue to support Australia’s high-quality health system while delivering better value to patients. Negotiating set fees between providers and insurers is a way to tackle this problem. It also shows a way to eliminating out-of-pocket fees for the consumer.

We’re pleased to offer this to Tasmanians in partnership with Tasmanian Eye Clinics. It leads the way for other providers around the country to work with us, with the ultimate aim of delivering better value in our health care system.

Peter Hudson AM is a proud and passionate Tasmanian and VFL football legend, and now Head of Market Development at Bupa.

July 2016

2RT Laser Technology (click here to view pdf)
Macular degeneration is the name given to a group of degenerative diseases of the retina that cause progressive loss of central vision. Injections exist to treat wet macular degeneration but up till now no treatment is available for dry macular degeneration.

It’s the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in Australia with approximately 1 in 7 Australians over 50 having some evidence of this disease.

But new technology installed in Tasmania for the first time will provide revolutionary treatment for Tasmanians with this eye disease, providing excitement in the industry and hope for sufferers.

“This treatment is relatively new but we feel so encouraged by the initial reports that we have invested significantly to become the only clinic in the State to install it,” Dr Gordon Wise, managing director of Tasmanian Eye Clinics said.

“We strongly believe this represents a significant potential breakthrough in treatment and so we are making this treatment available for the public as a community service, with those patients who meet the criteria having no out of pocket cost for the actual treatment,” Dr Wise said.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson was on hand to launch the new technology at Tasmanian Eye Clinics in Hobart.

“The Tasmanian Government welcomes the development of innovative technologies such as this and the benefits they may bring to Tasmanians.

I congratulate Tasmanian Eye Clinics on its work on this notable initiative.”

The 2RT treatment involves nanosecond laser technology which was developed at the Institute of Ophthalmology in London and is currently being researched through the University of Melbourne. Tasmanian Eye Clinics will participate in their research program, and is aiming to include the Menzies Centre in the trials.

“It’s a simple innovative treatment which has been shown to have no significant risk.”

Tasmanian Eye Clinics is now recruiting for other field trial patients with places available through referrals from local optometrists and GP’s.

Enquiries can be made through Tasmanian Eye Clinics if you are interested in finding out more or being a part of the trial. Please call 03 6214 0599.