Babies & toddlers
Better Start and Audiology Services
Source: Australian Hearing
Audiology services, Better Start Early Intervention and Medicare items; CDM Medicare items - how do they interact?
Julia is diagnosed at birth with a severe bilateral hearing loss and no other disabilities (4 FAHL left and right = 65dBHL). She is referred to Australian Hearing for device fitting and ongoing audiological management, and also enrols in an early intervention service for hearing impaired children.
Better Start Early Intervention Funding can be used to pay for programs delivered by her early intervention provider. This may include charges for Educational audiology services provided as part of a multidisciplinary approach and related to:
Cochlear implant candidate
At the age of 3, Julia suffers a sudden deterioration in her hearing levels, so that she now becomes a cochlear implant candidate.
Better Start Medicare items may be used to cover Cochlear Implant candidacy evaluation where this is not already covered by Medicare.
Better Start Early Intervention funding may be used to cover audiological services related to the ongoing cochlear implant program where this is not otherwise covered by Medicare, as long as the provided the Cochlear Implant program provider has registered as a provider with the Better Start Initiative.
Child who has Down syndrome
Nicholas is 9 months old and has Down syndrome. He passed his newborn hearing screening test but is at risk for developing a long term conductive hearing loss.
His GP develops a Chronic Disease Management program, which allows up to 5 services a year from designated allied health services, including audiology.
The CDM Medicare item may be used to assess his hearing.
Because Nicholas has a condition that entitles him to Better Start Early Intervention funding which can be used to supplement his overall early intervention needs, he could use the Better Start Medicare items to cover monitoring of his hearing, if that is planned as part of his program.
Maria is 4 years old and has a vision impairment that meets Better Start entry criteria. The Early Intervention Service that she attends wants to get her hearing tested to help with planning her intervention program.
Her hearing could be tested
Errol is 4 years old and has a profound bilateral hearing loss so is eligible for Better Start Early Intervention funding. He also has lost the use of his right arm due to a tractor accident.
Errol could access physiotherapy services using his Better Start Early Intervention funding, or using the Better Start Medicare Items; or using the CDM items.
His parents want to devote all their Early Intervention funding to managing his hearing needs. His GP develops a CDM care plan which allows him to attend 5 physiotherapy sessions per year.
Child older than 5 years
James is 5 years and 9 months old. He has a hearing loss that meets Better Start criteria and so is eligible for the Better Start Early Intervention funding.
James’ parent must register him for the Better Start initiative before he turns 6 by contacting Carers Australia. Once James is registered, he can use the Better Start funding until he turns 7. However, as there is a limit of $6,000 in any one financial year he may not be able to use the entire $12,000 in Better Start funding before his 7th birthday.
After James turns 7, he will continue to have access to the Better Start Medicare items to cover costs of allied health services until he turns 15 – provided there is a Better Start treatment and management plan in place before he turns 13.
He can also access the Medicare Chronic Disease Management items if his GP has developed a CDM management plan. James’s family decide that they will use these options to provide him with speech therapy after he no longer has access to the Better Start Early Intervention funding.
Information provided by Australian Hearing
Reproduced with permission.
Date reviewed: September 2011
Disclaimer: This website is for general information only and is not intended as a substitute for independent professional advice.