Dental scheme referral validity needs clarity

MEDICARE has moved to provide greater clarity around arrangements for existing Chronic Disease Dental Scheme referrals, after a complaint from a GP whose patient was left out of pocket for dental work. 

Victorian GP Dr Cameron Profitt said patients and their GPs were being caught out by the maximum two calendar-year lifespan of referrals via the scheme, meaning some referrals could remain valid for as little as 13 months.

Dr Profitt gave the example of a patient for whom he had written a management plan in April 2009 and who visited a dentist for treatment under that referral in February this year.

“The patient was told the referral was not valid,” Dr Profitt told MO. 

“They ended up having to unexpectedly pay for the full cost of the treatment, which luckily in this case was minor. But the whole situation is unnecessarily confusing for everyone involved.

“[It should be made clearer that