State of affairs in NSW
Currently in NSW we are not always able to successfully claim our service fees for Workers Compensation cases. Officially, NSW Workers Comp. is bound by legislation whereby only a ‘Medical Practitioner with a valid Medical Provider number’ for surgical assisting can claim the payment. Quite often those of us who send invoices are not paid due to this legislation and this is where I am working to gain either a complete change in legislation or initiate a register of approved AANSA PNSA members (such as in Qld) who may submit accounts to the NSW Workers comp insurance companies for remuneration.
This has been a long process. In short, I have been notified by the NSW WC office that they require proof of our role and qualifications along with some kind of endorsement from an authoritative body (apart from ACORN). The NSW Chief Nurses office refused to comply as they only hold jurisdiction in the public health arena and therefore would not endorse us. If any of you have any ideas of another Nursing Authority that would endorse our role it may be helpful in speeding up this process.
Other projects include the involvement of NSW in the work toward the national provider number approval and issueance for PNSA’s. All AANSA Exec are now settled into our positions and it is our foremost priority to return to lobbying for this goal. It is not only a provider number in order to allow our patients to get a Medicare rebate that is important though. An assisting provider number would allow automatic access for DVA patients to claim their fees (more on this later), Workers Comp would also become a non-issue, and we are confident that once furnished with a Provider number for assisting, the private health funds may come to give a rebate to their patients also.
A note on DVA.
I have been contacted by the DVA office and they have informed me that it is illegal for us to issue a DVA patient with an account where they cannot claim the rebate with the office. Firstly, the DVA works by approving rebates PRIOR to surgery via the surgeon. Post-surgery claims are not the usual way to claim for these patients. They can however choose not to claim their rebate. In this case, they are liable for all costs associated with their care.
With this discussed, I gave the notion that if we cannot be remunerated for our service then we have the right to refuse provision of our service at the point of care. This was met with shock from the DVA rep. Realising that this could mean that their patient may not receive the operation they require (which was my point). They quickly agreed that something needed to be done until a proivder number was issued us. I await their further correspondence.
Education and networking
The robotics education session was a great success! I beleive all attendees gained some knowledge and may hopefully be ready to begin assisting with robotic cases as the opportunity presents. I would be interested in hearing from any NSW members as to what they would like to include as a next education session. Networking is an important part of our AANSA existence and since the robotic session, there has definitely been an increase in local contact and involvement with the select few who attended. I would like to see all NSW members at least show a little more interest in AANSA goings on in order to show solidarity and unity in our goal to not only provide better healthcare but in lobbying for our long overdue provider number.
I realise we are all busy. It would be great to hear from you to know how you are progressing in your work as PNSA’s. I would also like to hear if you are encouraging other interested Perioperative RN’s in the path of PNSA. and even moreso if you know a PNSA who is either not an AANSA member or is not currently practising as a PNSA. If theres anything I can so to promote or help them Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to do what I can. I certainly feel my PNSA practice is building (75% full) and I am extremely satisfied with the work, enjoying the autonomy and role advancement. It is a worthwhile career and I hope you are all feeling the same.
RN. PNSA. MAANSA. MACN. MACORN.NSW
AANSA Executive Member (Founding)