Why is the government penalising women who are injured during pregnancy? Read on to find out what Dr Moncrieff and our patients have done to help!
OCTOBER 2021 UPDATE: the government is considering allowing women after babies have access to Medicare assistance again if they can demonstrate at least a 3cm ongoing muscle separation (diastasis) causing pain.
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons put together a submission in support of this, with help from our patients and thousands of other women across Australia. The survey closed on 31 May 2021.
The good news is that in October 2021 the government's MSAC (Medicare Services Advisory Committee) has publicly recommended creating a new MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) item for abdominoplasty with repair of rectus diastasis after pregnancy. But now the Health Minister and Treasurer also have to agree to including this as a Budget measure.
More about this process is available here.
What some women suffer after kids:
Many women we see need their abdominal wall repaired if it was irreparably damaged during pregnancy.
We are NOT talking about cosmetic ‘mummy makeovers’ (which are great - but will not attract a taxpayer rebate). Instead, this is the reconstruction of abdominal separation that can’t be fixed no matter how much physio or diet they do. And back pain and incontinence becomes a chronic problem for many of these women.
What we have done to help:
In 2016 the Government ended support for these women by removing access to the relevant Medicare item number for abdominoplasty and restricting it only to mass weight loss patients. So Dr Moncrieff and his colleagues from around Australia commenced research to show just how helpful abdominoplasty can be at reducing the chronic health issues facing women after babies.
That research was published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery with Dr Moncrieff listed as one of the authors.
In 2020 we supported a petition which called on the government to reinstate the Medicare item number for mum's injured through pregnancy. It was signed by over 13,000 mums, doctors and others before the closing date of 23 September 2020. A copy can be viewed here: click here.
And in 2021, we supported a submission to the government by the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons to allow women after babies have access to Medicare assistance again if they can demonstrate at least a 3cm ongoing muscle separation (diastasis) causing pain.
What needs to happen now:
We hope that this gives the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt MP, the evidence he needs to restore government support to mums facing significant health issues again. Not for cosmetic surgery, but for reconstructive muscle repair.
What you can do:
Contact your local federal member of parliament and Minister Hunt and ask why the Medicare item number for abdominoplasty excludes women with kids.
A copy of the research:
A big thank you:
To everyone who signed the petition and all our patients who took the time to complete the regular research surveys throughout their surgical journey with us, a huge thanks and let’s hope it helps some other women have the same health improvements.