About Dr Rob Kuru

Dr Rob Kuru is a Fellowship trained spinal surgeon who specialises in the operative treatment of spinal disorders.

 

Dr Kuru aims to give you an honest, easy to understand explanation of your problem which will enable you to make an informed decision about the best treatment for your individual condition.

 

Surgical treatments range from simple discectomy and decompression to relieve sciatica through to complex trauma and tumour reconstruction as well as paediatric and adult deformity correction.

About Dr Simon Abson

Dr Simon Abson is a spinal surgeon offering both public and private operative services in the Newcastle region.

 

He obtained his medical degree from the University of Sydney in 2004 and trained locally within Hunter New England Health becoming a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (FRACS) in Orthopaedics and trauma.

 

Dr Abson completed his specialty training as a fellow at Oxford University Hospital Trust, United Kingdom. He offers treatment for all spinal disorders involving paediatric and adult deformity, trauma, tumour and degenerative processes.

Fees and Appointments

Initial consultation: With very few exceptions you will require a valid referral from another medical practitioner prior to consultation. It is illegal to claim for services through Medicare (including pathology and investigations) without a current referral.

 

Referrals from a General Practitioner are usually valid for twelve months and from a Specialist usually three months. Reception staff will let you know if you require an updated referral at the time of your consultation.

 

Initial consultation involves taking a history of your presenting complaint as well as your past medical history and physical examination. If you have been referred for assessment of scoliosis or spinal deformity the examination will involve inspection of your spine which will require you to loosen or remove some clothing. For this, some patients are more comfortable wearing a swimming costume as an under garment for the examination.

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Following this Drs Kuru or Abson will review any investigations or imaging that you have had and will explain the findings to you. There are many misconceptions regarding the importance of changes on imaging studies particularly relating to degenerative disease i.e.; “bulging discs,” “bone on bone arthritis”). This will be explained to you in context of your symptoms and in many cases is often very different to what you have been told or come to believe prior to the consultation.

 

If you require additional investigations these will be arranged and a follow up appointment scheduled if needed.

The initial consultation is usually scheduled for half an hour. This will be extended if your problem is complex and needs more time to sort out.

 

Follow up consultations: Follow up appointments may be arranged to review the results of further tests or investigations or to provide ongoing monitoring of your condition. Follow up consultations are usually scheduled for ten minutes although will be extended if more time is required.

 

Both initial and review consultations are undertaken by Drs Kuru or Abson only. Following your consultation a written report will be forwarded to your referring Doctor detailing the consultation and recommendations arising from it.

 

HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE DRS KURU OR ABSON?
Once you have a referral you simply call the Macspine office (4040 1139) and an appointment will be made for you. When you ring, the reception staff will collect your personal details in addition to your Medicare number and Health Fund details. If you are covered by Workers Compensation or Third Party we will also need the Insurers details, claim number, as well as details of the Employer and Case Manager. For Workers Compensation or Third Party, a written approval is required prior to the consultation. If this is not available you will be responsible for the payment of fees at the time of consultation.

 

Please aim to arrive five to ten minutes prior to your appointment to allow any updating of information required. Please remember to bring:

1. Your referral letter if required.
2. Any investigational results, x-rays and scans.

 

We make every effort to run on time. Some patients require more time to sort out a complex problem and occasionally emergencies lead to delays. If this occurs, where ever possible, we will try and contact you in advance. If for whatever reason you are unwilling or unable to wait, please let the reception staff know and we will reschedule an alternative appointment.

 

METHODS OF PAYMENT
At the end of the consultation the reception staff will provide you with an invoice. Payment is required at the time of consultation. Payment may be made by cash, eftpos or credit card. We are able to electronically submit a paid invoice to Medicare on your behalf.

 

POST OPERATIVE CONSULTATIONS
Drs Kuru or Abson will regularly visit you during the course of your admission in hospital following your surgery. Following discharge from surgery, a follow up appointment will usually be arranged in four to six weeks depending on the procedure. The first post operative consultation following discharge is included in the surgical fee.

 

SURGICAL FEES
If you agree to have surgery for your problem a quote will be given to you detailing any planned surgery including the associated medicare item numbers and descriptors. Surgical procedures are billed according to a “Known Gap” arrangement. If your health fund has a ‘Known Gap’ arrangement ( for example Medibank Private, AHM, BUPA, HCF and the AHSA group) your out of pocket expenses will be limited to $500. If your fund does not have a ‘Known Gap” arrangement ( for example NIB and CDH ) your out of pocket expense will be greater. We would suggest that you contact your health fund to confirm your out of pocket expenses.

 

With any surgical procedure the intra operative findings may require modification of the surgery to get the best result, in which case there may be some alteration to the item numbers. In the event that circumstances require modification to the surgical plan, those in funds with ‘Known Gap’ arrangements will still only be out of pocket $500. If you are in a fund that does not participate in a ‘Known Gap’ arrangement, there may be additional costs that are not covered by the estimate.

 

There may be further fees for services provided by other doctors such as your Anaesthetist. Most health funds have arrangements with hospitals such that there are limited, if any, out of pocket expenses for your hospital stay (excluding of course any co-payment that you have opted for with your insurer). There may be some minor incidental fees dependant upon hospital arrangement with suppliers and varying rates of reimbursement. You can enquire about these through the hospital if you are concerned.

 

This practice excepts benefits paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs as full payment of consultation and surgical fees.

 

Are you insured by Medibank Private or NIB?
Recently Medibank Private (August 2015) and some years ago NIB have excluded their coverage for various types of spinal surgery from their policies. If you have Medibank Private or NIB top hospital cover their is unlikely to be any restriction on spinal surgical procedures. If you have a lower level of cover unfortunately it is likely you will have some restriction and you may not be covered for surgery through your private health insurance.