Apunipima welcomes rebate reversal

Friday January 16 2015, 12:15pm

Apunipima Cape York Health Council has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision that proposed Medicare changes, due to come into effect next week, will not go ahead.

The rebate for GP consultations less than 10 minutes was due to be cut from Monday, January 19, however new Health Minister Sussan Ley announced today the move to cut the rebate for short GP visits by $20 was no longer on the table.

Public Health Medical Advisor for Apunipima, Dr Mark Wenitong, said he was delighted about the decision to scrap the rebate.

“This is a win-win outcome for patients, especially in our Cape York communities,” Dr Wenitong said.

“Our clients rely on Medicare and to have GPs expected to pass an unnecessary cost onto patients would have been shameful.

“We couldn’t possibly have passed this financial burden on to our patients so this is a relief to know patient care and GP services will be a priority.

“We have been working for many years to improve early access to health services for our clients as evidence shows early primary health care intervention and detection is better for the client and cheaper for the health service in the long run and full bulk billing increases access.”

Apunipima is dependent on income from Medicare in health services, to deliver programs and infrastructure that could not necessarily be funded through traditional funding streams like extra GP services in Coen and Hopevale, additional nursing and health worker hours and specialist medical equipment for our speech pathologist and midwives.

As a non-profit organisation, Apunipima relies on Medicare income to invest in health programs, services and infrastructure that would otherwise be unavailable to Cape York communities under traditional government funding streams.


Using its Medicare revenue, Apunipima has been able to employ extra GPs, increase doctor, nursing and health worker hours and purchase specialist medical equipment for our speech pathologist and an ultrasound machine for use by our midwives on pregnant mums who would otherwise have to travel to cairns to see their unborn child.