Fees

I have private health insurance and want private care.

Some patients feel more comfortable choosing their own maternity care provider and hospital rather than one allocated to them by state government health administrators. Patients often comment that they feel lost in the public system, they are unsure about where to go or who to call if a problem arises and, they do not want to receive care in a system that is focused on training doctors and midwives. Such patients are willing to pay for private health insurance and an out of pocket cost for services delivered by a practitioner of their choice.

Dr Waterham will take responsibility for your care during pregnancy, at delivery and for your 5 day post baby stay in hospital. You will have flexibility with your appointment times during the week. I will see you for medical emergencies after hours if they develop. This means you will have access to a private obstetrician 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from conception until 6 weeks after your baby is born.

If I am unavailable, one of my colleagues Drs Peter England, Samantha Hargreaves or Rachel Ryan will see you.

This understandably comes with a cost. I charge a single fee of $4000. This includes all visits, delivery and post baby stay. You can pay this fee at 28 weeks when a rebate from medicare is available.

THIS IS THE ONLY OUT OF POCKET FEE FROM DR WATERHAM FOR THE ENTIRE PREGNANCY.

I do not charge a first visit fee (bulk billed) or post baby review fee (bulk billed). I do not charge out of pocket for my ultrasound scans in the rooms.

I have structured my fee this way to make it easier for patients to understand.

An alternative to this model of care is a shared care model with your local doctor. Read more about this here.

Anaesthetists and paediatricians (when required) have their own fee schedule. Dr Waterham has no control over the fees charged by medical specialists but can give a guidance to the circumstances where one is required.

I don’t have private health insurance and want public care.

All Australians with a medicare card have access to taxpayer funded model of maternity care in a public hospital. Patients have no out of pocket cost for the pregnancy visits with allocated midwives and doctors, the delivery and 1 to 2 day post baby stay.

Blood tests and ultrasound services may still have an out of pocket cost.

Patients are allocated to public hospitals depending on where they live. This means that patients cannot choose their public hospital. Models of care, appointment times and access to allied health are allocated by coordinators depending on clinical need.

Your GP can refer you to your local public hospital and the hospital will coordinate your visits.

By and large public hospitals do a good job of delivering services and providing care. They play an important role in training midwives and junior doctors, and patients should expect trainees to be involved in their care. Public hospitals also play a vital role in conducting research which ultimately aims to improve outcomes in the population.

Dr Waterham works 1 day per week in the public system where he is focused on training junior doctors to be the best consultants in the future!

I have private health insurance and want public care.

Patients are not obliged to use their private health insurance. They have just as much right to access public health services as anyone else. In a public hospital they will be treated as a public patient.

I don’t have private health insurance and want private care.

Dr Waterham does see pregnant patients without private health insurance for some pregnancy visits. Often these patients require a second opinion, require confirmation of ongoing pregnancy with ultrasound, need coordination of tests that are not available or not covered in the public system.

One off visits with Hayden, which include consultation and detailed ultrasound cost $250 per episode. A referral is required and a medicare rebate is available. The medicare rebate is about $76.15 but may be more than $100 if the medicare safety net has been reached. This leaves an out of pocket cost of about $150 for a consultation and ultrasound.

Occasionally patients will self fund all their care in the private system. Hospitals fees are subject to change due to complexity, length of stay, use of ancillary services etc. Estimates/quotes can be arranged by directly calling the rooms on 9416 4566.

I don’t have a medicare card. What are my options for care?

Patients without a medicare card face significant out of pocket costs, even in a public hospital. Attached is a publicly available guide of the costs a patient may face for various services as of 2020.

https://www.thewomens.org.au/patients-visitors/patient-fees-billing#no_medicare_card

This also provides a guide for how much it costs for services to be delivered in a public hospital.

For patients without a medicare card, a majority of patients will find it cheaper for services to be delivered in the private setting.

Comparing services/fees.

There are no comprehensive comparative websites or databases which compare the outcomes or fees for individual practitioners.

Safe Care Victoria collects hospital data but not individual practitioner data. Hospital data is publicly available through their website. Use your search engine to read “Victorian perinatal services performance indicators 2018–19”

For patients interested in comparing fees I recommend collecting information that is important to them. Questions included could be;

  1. Where does Dr X deliver?
  2. What does Dr. X charge for Management fee?
  3. Does Dr. X charge a first visit fee?
  4. Does Dr. X charge a postnatal fee?
  5. Who will cover Dr. X if they are unavailable or on leave?
  6. Does Dr. X have any special interest?

Patients should feel comfortable with their choice of obstetrician. Ultimately it’s that choice which encompasses the main benefits of private health insurance.