When Katherine Triebel found out she was pregnant again, she knew exactly where she wanted to have her baby – and which doctor would be her obstetrician.
She is back at Sydney Adventist Hospital, where in 2015 Dr Andrew Booker delivered her daughter Anastasia via caesarean section.
This time, again under the guidance of Dr Booker, Mrs Triebel will be one of the first patients in Australia to benefit from an unprecedented collaboration between a private hospital, medical staff and a health fund.
Due to give birth in March 2020, she will not have any out-of-pocket costs – saving between $4,000 - $6,000 – from start to finish in her pregnancy journey.
The not-for-profit hospital, known as the San, has formed an alliance with most of its medical specialists and insurer HCF to provide a no-gap deal covering ultrasounds, pathology or hospital services, plus obstetrician, anaesthetist and paediatrician fees.
“Hearing about this initiative has given me more flexibility to take time off to settle my newborn child into the family,” Mrs Triebel said.
“It’s obvious that HCF, the San Hospital and Dr Booker all share the same values that my husband and I hold surrounding choice and certainty,” she added.
Having seen many cases of medical negligence in her job as a legal secretary, Mrs Triebel – one of more than 1.6 million HCF members – used her private insurance to get the best treatment for her and her children.
“This was one of the reasons I chose Dr Booker and had a caesarean section when my daughter Anastasia was born,” she said. “It is a very personal choice and I appreciate that the San hospital and HCF are helping make that even easier now with my second child.”
Dr Booker, an obstetrician for over 15 years who has delivered more than 3,700 babies at the San, said he decided to join the scheme because it promotes what he loves doing in his job – building close bonds with patients.
“Obstetrics and gynaecology is often a lifelong relationship, as you look after women before they are pregnant, during pregnancy, and after pregnancy,” he explained. “Over many years you develop great friendships with your patients and with their entire families.”
Dr Booker said the new obstetrics package – called the Swaddle San Baby Bundle – will relieve a lot of financial stress on families.
“I’ve seen that during pregnancies – and particularly first pregnancies – people are often doing other financially stressful things.
“They are in the time of their life where they are dealing with mortgages, moving, renovations, adding extra rooms – and all those financial pressures add up.
“So to be able to contain their obstetrics costs where they pay absolutely nothing out-of-pocket will be really helpful for the families to plan and not give them any unexpected surprises. I think it’s brilliant,” Dr Booker said.
The San will exclusively offer the package in its catchment area in New South Wales, but HCF hopes to roll it out nationwide with private hospitals in the other states.
It aims to provide patients with certainty about competency, care and costs – as well as a lifelong connection with their healthcare provider.
“We hope all San babies ultimately become patients we can care for during their lives,” said the hospital's CEO Brett Goods.