What is the fee structure?
Consultation fees are either charged in line with Australasian Medical Association(AMA) recommended schedule or below.
If you hold a valid Medicare card, all fees will be eligible for a Medicare rebate that you can claim directly from Medicare. This can be lodged electronically at the time of payment, if your bank account is registered with medicare.
If you hold a valid pension card discounted fees will apply. If you are a DVA gold card holder the account will be sent directly to Veterans Affairs.
Payment is expected on the day of consultation.
Payment can be made by Eftpos, credit cards, cheque or cash.
Is there car parking available?
There is metered on-street parking in the nearby streets as well as underground pay-by-the-hour parking at the Epworth Hospital accessible from Bridge Road.
Bridge Road entrance of Epworth Hospital is serviced by Trams 48 and 75, disembarking at tram stop 15
What should I bring?
Please bring along a valid doctor's referral and Xrays (digital or hardcopy).
Referral from a general practitioner is valid for 12 months with referral from a specialist valid for 3 months.
What if I have to cancel my appointment?
If you need to cancel or change your appointment we ask that you give us at least 24 hours notice, so that we can fill your appointment time with another patient. If you do not give us 24 hours notice a cancellation fee may apply. If you provide your mobile phone number at the time of arranging your appointment you will receive a reminder text message a few days before.
Will my private insurance cover any fees?
Private insurance will not cover outpatient consultation fees. Private insurance will usually fully rebate medical services provided by Melbourne lung and sleep specialists whilst admitted as a hospital inpatient, including bronchoscopy and sleep studies.
What is involved with a bronchoscopy?
Bronchoscopy is a diagnostic examination of the major air passages of the lungs. It is done so that your lung specialist can look in your airways using a flexible tube about the width of a pencil, through your nose or mouth and into your windpipe (trachea).
There are many reasons for having a bronchoscopy. Common ones include coughing up blood, a persistent cough or abnormal chest x-ray findings.
Diseases of the lung can be analysed with bronchoscopy by sampling the lung tissue through the use of a bronchoscope. Samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Your doctor may perform a blood test before the procedure to check blood clotting. You will be asked if you are on any blood thinning medication (i.e aspirin, warfarin) before the procedure as this may need to be tempoararily withheld. You will be asked to fast for 6 hours prior to the bronchoscopy. If you are diabetic, your diabetic medication may need to be adjusted. It is important you bring your X-Rays for the procedure.
Before the procedure begins, the anaesthetist will insert a small needle into a vein so that sedative medications can be given. You will be connected to a heart and blood pressure monitor. You will be given extra oxygen through your nose during the exam. At this point, additional sedative medication will be given through your IV.
Occasionally, the examination is done with the aid of x-ray equipment to help locate the exact area from which to take biopsy specimens.
Bronchoscopy is a safe diagnostic procedure and carries little risk. Complications are infrequent, but if they occur, they may include pneumothorax (collapsed lung), bleeding at the biopsy site, allergic reaction to medicines, hoarseness, and fever. Only rarely do patients experience other, more serious complications.
Following bronchoscopy, you will be observed in recovery for 2-4 hours following your procedure to ensure there have been no complications. You will be unable to eat until 1 hour following the bronchoscopy. The effects of local anaesthetic on the back of the throat make swallowing unsafe before this. Nursing staff in recovery will check your swallowing 1 hour after the procedure to ensure it is safe to eat/drink.
You will require a friend/relative to take you home after the procedure. You will need to have someone at home overnight just in case there are any complications.
You may cough up some blood after the procedure or may develop a temperature up to 38C in the first 24 hours after the procedure. If you have had biopsies taken, there is a 5% risk of sustaining a pneumothorax (i.e punctured lung). In most cases this will be detected before you go home, but occasionally it may not be apparent until 6-12 hours after the procedure. The warning symptoms are sudden onset of shortness of breath and chest pain. If these symptoms occur, you should return to the hospital immediately for a chest x-ray. If you develop a pneumothorax, usually no specific treatment is required. Occasionally a small bore chest tube will need to be inserted.
What if I need a sleep study?
If a sleep study has been recommended, our secretarial staff will assist with you organising a suitable date for either an in lab overnight sleep study or portable home sleep study.
For more information, click on https://www.epworth.org.au/who-we-are/our-services/sleep-disorders#referring
Melbourne Lung and Sleep uses a ‘no gaps’ arrangement for your sleep study, but please note that there may be an out of pocket fee if you have an excess to pay with your level of private insurance coverage for an overnight stay in a sleep laboratory.
It is important that you arrange a follow up appointment with your specialist to occur following the sleep study as results are not given over the telephone
What problems can be diagnosed?
The tests have the possibility to diagnose a range of lung conditions including; Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Lung Fibrosis, and Asbestosis. Sometimes other tests are required in order to make a more definitive diagnosis. It is also common to undergo lung function to access whether you are fit for major surgery.
Are these tests painful?
These tests are not painful, but do require maximum effort on your behalf in order to get the most accurate results. The respiratory scientist will ensure you are comfortable throughout the whole process and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the test. The testing process lasts between 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the tests required by your doctor.