Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we have provided answers to some of our most commonly asked questions. If you still can't find the answer to any questions you may have, or have pressing concerns, please call our clinic directly, and our friendly staff will be delighted to assist you.

New Patients - Appointments & Referrals

Booking an appointment

Our practitioners consult by appointment only. Please contact your GP or call our clinic directly on (03) 9931 0014.

Referrals

Before making an appointment, we require a referral from a GP or specialist, who can fax it straight to us at (03) 9931 0015. Our team will organise an appropriate appointment with one of our practitioners, within a suitable time frame.

Can I bring snacks and other foods?

Please avoid letting your children have food in the waiting room and consulting rooms.

Foods not permitted at any time are: peanuts, tree nuts or nut pastes.

We work hard to provide a tidy and clean practice and many families have indicated that they appreciate this. It can be difficult to conduct adequate cleaning during consulting hours. For any children with allergic problems, food residues can be a very serious health concern. Common allergies include egg, dairy, nuts and shellfish and these can be found in many ordinary foods.

Food residues and spilled drinks create enhanced pathogen (viruses and bacteria) breeding opportunities and pathogen transmission risk.

We hope families can appreciate the very significant extra cleaning costs resulting from children having food in the rooms.

Relax and Play

Allowing children to play, relax and feel welcome is very important in building a positive relationship with clinicians and staff. Happy occupied children allow parents the space to talk with their doctors or other providers. Children and young people are most welcome to explore our carefully selected range of toys. Older children will find design toys, art activities, puzzles and books to occupy their time or might take the opportunity to sit quietly.

We love to see children returning happily for review visits and we have some tricks up our sleeves to help children leave our rooms happily too.

Play, reading and relaxation are important for young people and can be very helpful in indicating how a child is developing or feeling.


Emergency & Crisis Situations

Western Children Health Centre does not offer acute care services.

Service providers attend the WCHC on a sessional or part-time basis. We are unable to provide emergency or crisis care. In the case of less urgent difficulties that arise between planned consultations, each clinician will have their own measures in relation to these. The administration staff will be able to advise you of these. If you find yourself in a crisis, there are several supports which are specifically available to address the needs of children and families with acute difficulties.

For non-urgent medical support in business hours please contact your General Practitioner (GP).

For urgent medical support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: Please dial emergency 000.

For mental health support support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Ambulance and local emergency department - Dial 000 or visit Victoria’s Mental Health Services

Under 15 years Telephone: 1800 445 511, 15+ years Telephone: 1800 888 320
Lifeline - 13 11 14
Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800

The following services also provide support and information to parents and families, though may not be available 24 hours per day:
Parent line - 1300 30 1300
Family and Child Connect 13 32 64


Fees & Insurance

Fees

Our practitioners determine their fees individually, and they may vary depending on the service provided on the day.

Payments

We require full payment of your account on the day of your consultation. Payments may be made by cash, EFTPOS or credit card (Mastercard/Visa). Please contact us before the appointment if you have any queries or concerns.

Claiming a Medicare Rebate

You can claim a rebate from Medicare if you have a valid referral from your GP (valid for 12 months) or a specialist (valid for 3 months).

We offer online Medicare claims, allowing Medicare to pay the rebate directly into your account within 48 hours. More information about claiming and how to register your details with Medicare are available at this website.

Medicare Safety Net

Out of pocket expenses may count towards the Medicare Safety Net.

The Medicare Safety Net aims to protect high users of the health system from excessive out of pocket expenses. Couples and families must register as a Medicare Safety Net family. This includes those on the same Medicare card.

Please visit this website for further information.

Private Health Insurance

Some private health insurance provide coverage for services provided at this clinic. The services covered and extent to which they are covered will depend on your particular policy - please check with your insurer directly for more information.


Funding

Medicare Safety Net

Families or individuals who have reached the Medicare Safety Net threshold may be eligible for an additional benefit from Medicare.

Better Access to Mental Healthcare Scheme

Medicare rebates are available for up to 10 individual and 10 group allied mental health services per calendar year to patients with an assessed mental disorder who are referred by:

  • A GP managing the patient under a GP Mental Health Plan, or
  • A psychiatrist or paediatrician

Allied mental health services under this initiative include psychological assessment and therapy services provided by clinical psychologists, eligible occupational therapists and psychologists.

Health professionals determine their own fees for the service they provide, and charges in excess of the Medicare rebate are the responsibility of the patient.

Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDM) and Team Care Arrangements (TCA)

The Chronic Diseases Management Plan (CDM) is a Medicare-rebated funding program for people who have chronic medical conditions (classified as a condition that has been present for at least 6 months).

It consists of 5 (maximum) rebates per calendar year for Allied Health services (ie. Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Psychology). If you are accessing more than one type of therapy you are entitled to share the CDM sessions across the therapists (ie. not 5 rebates per service).

GPs may suggest a CDM or TCA to help plan and coordinate care for children with complex medical or developmental needs. If your child has a CDM or TCA they may be eligible to claim through Medicare for up to 5 allied health visits (eg. speech pathology, dietician, physio, Occupational Therapy, Psychology) per calendar year.

Helping Children with Autism Program

There are Medicare rebates for the assessment and treatment of autism under the age of 13.

To be eligible for these rebates, a GP refers a child with possible ASD for assessment by a paediatrician or psychiatrist.

The paediatrician or psychiatrist may refer to allied health professionals such as a Speech Pathologist, Psychologist or Occupational therapist to assist in diagnosis. Medicare provides rebates for up to 4 diagnostic assesment visits per child. The paediatrician will then see your child again to develop a treatment and management plan which is also rebated through Medicare (provided it is completed before your child turns 13).

After the development of the management plan, your paediatrician or psychiatrist may refer you for allied health services. Medicare will rebate up to 20 allied health services per child for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. These treatment services must occur before your child turns 15.

Better Start Program

The Better Start Program has been introduced for children with other disabilities such as deafness, blindness, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome. The model is very similar to the HCWA (Helping Children with Autism Package) funding.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

NDIS is a new national funding scheme now available in all parts of Victoria. NDIS offers an information and referral service to any Australian with any level of disability, including access to specialist disability support services. If eligible for NDIS, your child will receive funding on an annual basis to buy the services and aids your child needs to achieve your goals and achieve optimal independence. You can decide whether to manage the funds yourself (“self-managed”) or you can ask the NDIS to manage these funds for you.

HCwA & Better Start funding will continue until your funding is utilised or the NDIS rolls out in your area. If you are still receiving this funding at the time of the roll out, you will receive information to assist with the transition to NDIS.


Attending Your Appointment - What to Bring & Who Should Attend?

What should I bring?

Please bring your Medicare Card, referral, registration forms and previous assessment reports (if not emailed or faxed through). Your child’s Health and Development Record (blue/green book) is also helpful.

Also, if you have any other relevant reports (such as those from other medical appointments, teachers, or test results) that you would like considered in your appointment, please send them by email or fax prior to your consultation.

Does my child need to attend the appointment?

You will not be eligible for a Medicare rebate if your child is not present at the consultation. If you will need to speak to your practitioner without your child, please bring along a trusted friend or relative to wait with your child while you do so.

Do both parents need to attend?

It does help your practitioner if the main care-givers are present at the same time, however we leave this up to you and your family, as every family is different.

Please tell us if parents are separated in regards to notifications and correspondence.

Will I need to wait?

We appreciate that your time is valuable, and our practitioners always strive to run on time, however due to circumstances beyond our control, this is not always possible.

Please consider others by arriving on time for your appointment, and please call us if you are running late. If you need to discuss multiple or complex issues during your consultation, please tell our staff so they can schedule accordingly.

Require an interpreter?

If you have an upcoming appointment with a Paediatrician, we can help you book an interpreter to support you in person throughout your appointment. Interpreters will talk to your doctors and speak to you in a language you understand to ensure you have the details you need for your care and support.

Please note interpreters must be booked ahead of time for on-site visits, to ensure a person who speaks your language is available. Please inform our friendly reception team if we need to book an interpreter for your appointment with the Paediatrician.


Cancelling or Postponing your Appointment

At least 24 hours notice is required if you need to cancel or change your appointment, as this allows us to offer it to other patients. Missed appointments, or those cancelled with less than 24 hours notice will incur a cancellation fee of $75.


Contacting your Doctor - General Enquiries, Test Results, Medication & Prescriptions?

General Enquiries

Please do not hesitate to send us an email or leave an answering machine message if you need to make an enquiry outside of business hours. Our staff are happy to help you and will endeavour to follow up as soon as they can.

In case of any emergencies, please go to a paediatric emergency department or the nearest hospital, or call 000.

If you require medical advice, please speak with our reception staff to arrange an appointment with your practitioner.

Please note: Following your consultations, your Doctor will always send a report to you, your GP and/or your referring Doctor, so if you have any queries your GP may also be able to assist.

Patient Test Results

Your practitioner may refer your child to take blood tests or conduct medical imaging. In most circumstances they will advise you to book a follow-up appointment to review the results personally. This ensures the safest approach and allows us to uphold our highest standards of medical care.

If you have not heard from us when you were expecting to, or have any other pressing concerns, please call our clinic directly.

Medication

If your doctor has prescribed your child with medication, or altered their dosage, they may organise a follow up appointment to review. It is very important to attend this appointment within the recommended time frame.

Repeat Prescriptions

Depending on the type of medication, you may need to organise a review appointment with your practitioner before repeat prescriptions can be provided.

If your paediatrician tells you that they can provide repeat prescriptions without an appointment, please contact us before your prescription is due to run out, as some of our paediatricians are only at the clinic occasionally. Sometimes, fees for script preparation may also apply. If your script is required urgently, please contact your GP.


Privacy - Your Information: Use, Disclosure, Access & Complaints

Collection of Your Information

Information about you or your child’s medical and family history is needed to provide accurate diagnosis and treatment. Patient health information is always confidential and we will only collect this information with your consent.

Use & Disclosure of Your Information

Comprehensive care often requires full knowledge of patient health information by other health professionals involved in your child’s treatment. For this reason, with your permission, health information may be shared with other health professionals. It is our usual practice to write to your referring doctor after the consultation, and we will also send you a copy of the letter.

Limited information about patients is provided to Medicare and private health funds, for billing and rebate purposes only. We may be legally bound to disclose information, for example for mandatory reporting of some infectious diseases.

Access to Your Information

You have the right to access your health information. You may wish to view the information or ask for a copy of a part or of the whole record. A small fee may be charged for this service. There may be times when we are unable to provide access, for example, if the privacy of others is affected. Your child’s right to privacy of their health information might at times restrict access to this information by their parents or guardians.

If you find information held is not accurate or complete, you are entitled to have that information corrected.

Concerns Regarding Your Child’s Care

Please do not hesitate to discuss any concerns regarding your child’s care, questions or any issues relating to the privacy of your personal information with us. Further information is available from the Australian Government Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at oaic.gov.au or the Hotline 1300 363 992.

Still have something to ask? Please call us directly, at (03) 9931 0014 and our friendly staff will help you out.

Copyright © Western Children's Health Centre, 2021.