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New rebate means better deal for intellectually disabled

13 February, 2007

Intellectually disabled Australians will soon enjoy better access to quality health services, thanks to a new Medicare rebate created at the AMA’s urging, AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal has said.

“As a group, people with an intellectual disability have some of the worst health outcomes of any Australians, mostly because they can find it difficult to recognise and communicate symptoms,” Dr Haikerwal said.

“Some health problems may not be picked up during the course of a normal consultation.”

The AMA has lobbied the Government over the past year to introduce a new Medicare rebate for longer, annual health assessments for people with intellectual disabilities.

“The new item number, which the Government has promised to introduce in July this year, will provide patients with a rebate that allows for the complexities involved in a comprehensive annual health assessment,” Dr Haikerwal said.

“Research has shown that such assessments improve immunisation rates as well as the diagnosis and treatment of a range of diseases and conditions, including hearing and vision impairment.

“We welcome the new item number, and look forward to discussing the details with the Government.”

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