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Surgeons Call on MBF to Guarantee the Best Spare Parts for PatientsThu, 09 Sep 1999

The Australian Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons today called on the chairman of MBF, Mr John Condie, to personally guarantee that MBF will meet in full the cost of any prostheses which an orthopaedic surgeons believes is the best quality replacement part for a patient undergoing surgery.

"MBF has asked hospitals to come up with an 'all in price' for nearly 300 treatments."

"At the same time they say they want the best quality for patients," said Dr Harrison. "But who will pay?"

Hip replacement operations will create major problems for hospitals quoting a fixed price. "Prostheses can cost anything from $4,000 to $15,000," said Dr Harrison. "We choose the right one for that patient at that time. Now hospitals will have to determine an average price - they have to, just to stay in business. As for us being able to take advantage of future developments - that will just simply not be feasible."

"Let's face it 20 per cent of hospitals in Queensland may go broke overnight under the MBF scheme because only 70 per cent of hospitals will get a contract," said Dr Harrison. "The ones that are left are going to be counting every bean."

Dr Harrison called on MBF to come clean about its new contracting system. He said at present hospitals charged health on a per day basis and the cost of prostheses, radiology, pathology, diagnostics physiotherapy all came on top and were decided on the basis of what a doctor believed was in the best interest of his patients.

"An 'all in price' will change all that," said Dr Harrison. "You don't have to be a rocket scientist or even a chartered accountant to see that."

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