USANZ Position Statement on Surgical Fees
USANZ supports affordable health care for all patients and the provision of accurate information about urological conditions and treatment to our patients including information regarding expected out of pocket costs.
USANZ suggests that no patient should ever feel that they must place themselves at financial stress in order to obtain appropriate urological care and supports the RACS position statement on excessive fees.
Patients must be empowered to discuss fees with their surgeons, and if fees quoted place patients under severe financial stress, USANZ would recommend the patient initiates a discussion with their surgeon to discuss their concerns. Failing that, discussion with their trusted family physician is encouraged to consider obtaining a second opinion with another surgeon privately, or referral for free public care.
There is no evidence that the fee level charged by individual urologists equates to better surgical outcomes.
In New Zealand, patients will either self-fund their consultations and/or procedures in the private sector or their insurance will pay a percentage of the costs, subject to the level of insurance the patient has in place. Therefore, excessive billing by the surgeon may be met by the insurance company alone.
Patients must also be comfortable that they have received the best available information about their urological condition and possible treatment options, including the risks of those treatment options, as well as the risks of not proceeding with recommended treatment. If patients are not satisfied and require further discussion, USANZ encourages them to approach their surgeon for further consultation and discussions, or otherwise seek alternative opinions from other urologists or medical specialists.
Patients should be encouraged to proceed with surgical treatments only after they are completely satisfied regarding the information received about the condition, the proposed treatment, and the fees quoted.
Urologists are highly skilled, well-trained surgical specialists and the public must be reassured that urologists will perform surgical procedures safely, and competently in both private and public sectors including close supervision of trainees within the public sector.
Endorsed by the USANZ Board 20 February 2016