Last Thursday evening the Sydney Adventist (San) Hospital and HCF had an exciting evening to which I was invited. The meeting was to celebrate the launch of the new Swaddle Maternity Package.
Swaddle (San Baby Bundle Maternity Package) is an Australian first. ‘No gap’ pregnancy care is not available at any other hospital in Australia or with any other heath fund in Australia.
- There will be ZERO for you to pay me. You will have all your antenatal visits in my office in Norwest done by me, as is now the case. The initial consultation with me will be bulk billed and there will be no management fee for you to pay. You can have as many antenatal visits as are needed, and there will be ZERO for you to pay me out your personal pocket. I will deliver your baby and I will manage your in-hospital postnatal care. There will be no bill from me for your hospital care.
- There will be ZERO for you to pay for the usual pregnancy pathology tests, except the NIPT (as this does not have Medicare rebate).
- There will be ZERO for you to pay for all ultrasound scans of your baby. The ultrasounds will be done by sonographers and subspecialist obstetricians who have had extra training and specialise in pregnancy ultrasound scans. That means greater accuracy than if you went to a general radiology practice.
- There will be ZERO for you to pay for your hospital stay (except your predetermined health fund excess if relevant). You will have your baby in one of Australia’s best, largest and most modern private hospitals. You will labour and deliver in a state-of-the-art birthing suite. You can have a ‘water birth’ if you wish. Afterwards you will enjoy your new baby, relax and learn mothercraft skills in a large, modern and comfortable postnatal room. The San has been described to me by patients as ‘the Northshore Hilton’, as the accommodation is so nice. During your hospital stay, you will have access to all the normal educational classes (i.e. breastfeeding, baby care etc) at no charge. There will not have pressure on you for early discharge, as would happen if you were a public patient in a public hospital. If you need to attend the hospital antenatally or be admitted antenatally because of a pregnancy complication, there will be ZERO for you to pay.
- There will be ZERO for you to pay for any pathology tests, or scans or other tests that may be needed while you are in hospital.
- There will be ZERO for you to pay the specialist paediatrician who checks you baby after delivery and manages your baby’s wellbeing while you are in hospital.
- There will be ZERO for you to pay the specialist anaesthetist, if you have an epidural in labour or you have an elective Caesarean section. Occasionally a labouring woman with an epidural for pain relief in labour needs an emergency Caesarean section with there being a second anaesthetist available for the operation. With Swaddle there will be ZERO for you to pay either anaesthetist.
- There will be ZERO for you to pay my surgical assistant if you have a Caesarean section.
Occasionally a patient will need the services of a colleague of another medical specialty or have a procedure not covered by the package which is not covered by Swaddle and for which there will be a gap payment. This could be, for example, an endocrinologist if you develop gestational diabetes.
Today couples dropping out of, or not joining, health funds because their ‘money is tight’ and as well because sometimes there can be considerable ‘out of pocket’ expenses (known and unknown). We explain our fees to a patient at the first visit and advise there will be extra gaps by other doctors involved in her care. When the new patient asks what the gaps of these other doctors will be, as they want to budget, my secretary says we don’t know. For instance, anaesthetists’ fees for the same service vary considerably. Which anaesthetist does the epidural block when requested will be the anaesthetist the midwife finds is available at the time. Now with Swaddle there will be no ‘out of pocket’ payment to the anaesthetist. With Swaddle the only ‘out of pocket’ you will have are your health fund payments and your heath fund excess (if relevant).
The CEO of the San, Mr Brett Goods, estimates the saving will be $3,500 – $6,5000. What would you do with a new baby and an extra say $5,000 in your pocket? With Swaddle you will be private patient, with quality pregnancy care from me as your obstetrician, I will deliver your baby, I will have the support of other specialist and experienced doctors in your care as necessary. You will have your baby in a quality hospital. You can budget knowing there is ZERO extra for you to pay. This is on condition you don’t need also the services of an additional doctor, such as an endocrinologist, who is not in the Swaddle program.
Swaddle was launched in January. There has been so much excitement amongst women about it. I believe many women would not choose public care if the money side was not an issue. With Swaddle you can have private care and money, except your fund payments, is not an issue!
The San and HCF both excitedly report the uptake of Swaddle. I have personally had quite a few patients sign up for Swaddle. It is predicted there will be explosive growth. And why not? Consider what you can do with the thousands of dollars savings.
My wife and I have been members of HCF since we married, when I was medical student. We have found HCF to an excellent health fund and our membership, especially with how much they have paid out for us, has made it very worthwhile.
Other hospitals are very nervous about Swaddle. I know Norwest has started working out their own ‘no gap’ Swaddle type program. I will keep you informed of developments.
If you are considering having a baby, or you have a friend or family member who is considering having a baby, and cost is an important consideration, then I suggest consider joining or transferring to HCF and having your baby at the San through Swaddle.