A Referral written by a referring doctor is an important communication document.
An initial referral guides the cardiologist as to what your concerns are so those issues can be dealt with initially.
For subsequent consultations the referral not only serves an administrative purpose, it also provides the cardiologist/ physician with up to date information with respect to recent investigations, other procedures or illnesses the patient may have had, and importantly the current medications the patient is on. With respect to the last point, it is not infrequent when the patient is not taking the medications on the referral letter so this serves as an important back up.
HeartWest understands that the “referral request” can be burdensome and we apologise for this. However, it is in the best interest of the patient.
As HeartWest has grown so too has its services with ready access to subspeciality cardiologists (heart failure, electrophysiology) respiratory, nephrology, general physician colleagues and others. Sometimes, a referral will be made between specialists (However this referral lasts for only 3 months). If you are satisfied that the patient requires ongoing review then an ongoing referral will be required.
August 2020 MBS Cardiac Services Review
There have been multiple changes to the MBS item numbers for cardiology investigations ( link here) which affect both the referring doctor and the reporting cardiologist.
There have been 29 deleted item numbers and 18 new item numbers for ECG, ECHO and STRESS TESTING services. There are new limits on who can refer for tests , test indications and how frequently these tests can be performed.
It is critical that referring doctors become familiar with these rules before referring patients for tests to avoid unnecessary problems with bookings.
Heartwest will be pleased to assist referring doctors with test choices and in providing correct information on referrals.
For some clinical scenarios, a referral for a cardiology consultation before ordering tests may be the best approach.