Frequently Asked Questions for Patients (non COVID-19)

  • Do I need to book for a test?

    For most pathology tests, an appointment is not required and clients presenting at our collection centres will be attended to in order. There are, however, a small number of tests that do require a booking. Patients who have booked for these specific tests may be seen out of order due to special timing requirements. Our staff always attempt to triage patients and prioritise those with current medical conditions or who are feeling unwell.

  • What’s the best time to attend?

    Our collection centres are busy earlier in the day. If you are able to come in later in the morning or in the afternoon, you will usually be served more promptly. However, if your test requires fasting overnight, you should attend as early as possible.

  • Do I need to bring my Medicare Card?

    Yes, you must have your Medicare card with you so SA Pathology can confirm your correct details in order to bulk-bill Medicare.

  • Do I need to fast for my test?

    Some tests require that you fast for accurate results. This means you can have plain water only after 9pm the night before any of the listed tests.

  • What should I do after my test?

    Many tests require fasting and because of this some patients may be in a fragile state, especially children and older people. Don’t exert yourself unduly until you have eaten a proper meal.

    After blood has been collected and gauze has been applied to the puncture site, avoid bending your arm or lifting anything heavy with the arm, including bags or handbags, until you feel better.

    For more information see Patient Preparation.

  • When can I get my results?

    Your doctor will advise you when your results are available.

  • Are my results kept private?

    SA Pathology maintains rigorous levels of confidentiality and all medical information is protected according to current laws on privacy and the protection of personal information.

  • Are my samples kept secure?

    As standard across all Australian major hospitals, SA Pathology uses the 3-point patient identification check to ensure the sample is matched to your doctor's request. The same process applies if you are dropping off a sample you have collected yourself for testing.

    All SA Pathology laboratories are NATA-accredited to ensure the highest standards of testing, handling and clinical accuracy of your pathology test results.

  • Will I receive a bill?

    SA Pathology is a not-for-profit organisation. We bulk-bill patients for all items covered by Medicare, meaning for the majority of tests, no gap payment is required.

  • How much will my test cost?

    SA Pathology bulk-bills all Medicare listed tests which means you will not have any out of pocket expenses. There are a small number of tests or services not funded by the Commonwealth which do not have a Medicare item number and therefore do not attract a Medicare rebate.

  • Do I have to pay for some tests?

    For non-Medicare listed tests you will receive a bill. Your doctor will be aware of this when ordering specific tests and can discuss the costs with you. You will be asked to complete an Agreement to Pay form, available for download below. Please bring your completed Agreement to Pay form and request form to your collection appointment.

    Overseas patients not eligible for a Medicare card or Department of Veterans Affairs card will be billed privately at the bulk billing rate for all Medicare listed services. An invoice will be sent directly to you. 

    Agreement to Pay form

  • Non-hospital patients

    This applies to patients who have their specimens collected from an SA Pathology collection centre, GP surgery or as a hospital outpatient. Under our 'No-Gap' billing policy, SA Pathology bills through Medicare and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs so patients do not pay a gap fee for pathology tests covered by Medicare.

    In order to bulk-bill eligible services, SA Pathology requires a patient's signature in the assignment box on the pathology request form, as well as the relevant Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs numbers.

    Patients who do not complete the assignment box will be issued an account, an assignment form and a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. The account will be cancelled if a signed assignment form is returned. Alternatively, the account may be presented to Medicare for payment.

  • Private Inpatients and Day Stay Patients

    In most cases your bill will be sent directly to your Private Health Insurer. If for any reason this is not possible, you will be issued with an invoice, which you will need to present to Medicare and your Private Health Insurer.