Diabetes services at no cost to you
Friday, 22 March 2019
Australia has a health system funded by Medicare that ensures all Australians can access health care at no cost.
As part of the diabetes annual Cycle of Care, every person with diabetes can check on their blood pressure, kidney health, eye health, cholesterol profile and more.
These checks may require a visit to the GP, Practice Nurse, an Endocrinologist, Credentialed Diabetes Educator, Dietitian, Optometrist, Podiatrist, Dentist, Pharmacist and/or Exercise Physiologist. Also, mental health support may be needed due to the increase risk of depression that is associated with living with diabetes.
This long list of appointments can be costly, in time and money. However, visiting these health professionals may reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications, so finding a cost effective alternative is important.
If you are experiencing the financial burden of visiting your health professionals, here are some alternatives:
- Queensland Health provides a dedicated diabetes service as part of most hospital and health services. You have access to Endocrinologists, Credentialled Diabetes Educators, Dietitians, Podiatrists and Exercise Physiologists. All you need is a GP referral.
- Optometrists bulk bill general eye examinations and if you ring around, you can often find an Optometrist who waives the gap for the diabetes eye examination as well.
- Your GP can refer you for psychologist support with a GP Mental Health Plan where many appointments can be accessed at no cost. Check if there is a gap with the provider before your appointment.
- For an Endocrinologist consultation, at no cost, ask your GP to refer you to the local diabetes service at your nearest public hospital. In rural areas, the Telehealth and fly in, fly out Endocrinologist visits regional hospitals.
- For dental services in the public health system, contact 1300 300 850. You will require a health care card and you may be placed on a waiting list.
- In rural and remote areas where Queensland Health do not have many allied health services in that region or have long waiting lists, there is funding called the Medicare Allied Health Initiative. This program funds not for profit services to provide allied health services in rural locations. Your GP is able to refer you to this program.
- Your General Practitioner can also refer you to private allied health professionals through a Team Care Arrangement (TCA) for a total of five subsidised visits per calendar year. Some health professionals bulk bill, so it pays to ring around before your appointment. If you have a DVA Gold Card then your visits are fully funded with a GP referral and the number of visits to a health professional is not limited.
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) are throughout Queensland. They provide general practitioner, allied health and specialist services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, at no cost.
- To find those health care providers near you, there is an app called ‘Access My Community’. This app provides you with a list of health services in your community. If you do not have a smart phone this can be accessed via the webpage www.mycommunitydirectory.com.au
Ensuring that you maintain regular visits with your ‘team’ of health professionals reduces the risk of diabetes complications. It does not need to be a financial burden.