Diabetes is a chronic condition which requires complex solutions. In further recognition of the fact that treating diabetes will probably include using different types of allied health programmes, such as physiotherapy or a dietician, Medicare has announced it will offer rebates for some group health services for type 2 diabetes.
The Commonwealth Government is expanding the “Medicare Allied Health and Dental Care Initiative” to include group services provided by eligible dietitians, diabetes educators and exercise physiologists on referral from GPs. Poor diet, inadequate exercise and excess weight contribute to increased health problems for diabetics. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 89 per cent of males and 64 per cent of females with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
The new initiative is expected to cost about $5 million a year and help about 20, 000 people a year. The rebates will initially be available for people with type 2 diabetes who are being managed under an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plan.