Our Billing Policy explained
Nearly all GP practices in Australia are private businesses that decide on business models that either provide bulk billing to everyone, charge everyone private fees or to have a mixture of both based on certain criteria.
To be able to bulk bill everyone requires a high volume of patient throughput for a business to be viable. We do not believe this is a model under which we can provide the quality of care that we want to. On the other hand private billing everyone regardless of personal circumstances makes healthcare inaccessible to some people in our community, which we also find unacceptable.
Mixed billing allows us to be viable as a business, to be accessible to the whole community and to provide sufficient time to all of our patients to provide quality healthcare.
The fees associated with your consultation with a doctor need to cover all our practice costs including employing nurses and receptionists as well as covering our operational expenses such as rent, medical equipment, electricity, insurances and keeping up with technical advances that improve the patient's experience such as Telehealth, electronic referrals and e-scripts.
For many years now Medicare rebates have not kept pace with the rising cost of providing our patients with a high standard of medical care. On average the Consumer Price Index increases by 3% per year while the Medicare rebates only increase by 1.7% on average.
Our practice rapidly incorporated all the changes and technological advances required to allow us to stay open and provide safe ongoing care to our patients throughout the Covid pandemic but unfortunately the cost of providing good medical care continues to rise and Medicare rebates do not cover the cost of providing our patients with safe, high quality health care.
It is therefore no longer possible for this practice to meet our running costs without changes to our billing policy, which will bring us more in line with most other practices in this area.
From 1st January 2022 our billing will be as follows:
BULK BILLING is available to the following patients:
All children up to 5 years of age
All patients 66 years and older who have a current government Pensioner Concession Card
All DVA Gold Card Holders
All DVA White Card Holders for consultations that relate to their accepted conditions.
A REDUCED RATE is available to the following patients:
Patients aged between 6-11 years of age.
Patients who have a current Government Concession card. Please note a valid concession card MUST be presented to reception on the day of the appointment in order to qualify for a reduced rate.
FULL PRIVATE FEE is available to all other patients.
Payment is required on the day and reception staff can process the Medicare rebate on your behalf and you will receive your rebate into your nominated bank account between 24-48 hours after payment. Medicare regulations prohibit us from splitting your bill and only charging a co-payment.
TELEHEALTH AND VIDEO CONSULTATIONS. We continue to offer Telehealth to maintain the safety of our patients and staff and for the convenience of our patients.
Please note teleheath consultations require the same doctor time, decision-making and clinical responsibility as face to face consultations and attract the same fee.
Additional fees may apply for various other appointment types - for example extended appointments, mental health care plans and reviews, vasectomies, skin biopsies and excisions, ECGs and iron infusions.
We do have situations where patients that do not meet our bulk billing criteria ask to be bulk billed. Billing of each patient is ultimately the decision of the treating doctor, who may decide to bulk bill or discount a fee for any number of reasons, but if you do not meet our bulk billing criteria, this should not be expected.
Any patients that are basing their decision to consult one of our doctors on whether they will be bulk billed or not should consider the following:
Familiarise yourself with what bulk billing is (click here for an explanation) so you are aware of what you are asking from the doctor, and
Ask about this prior to your consultation, not after the service has already been provided.
The team at Paddington Medical Centre look forward to continuing to care for you and your families during these challenging times and into the future.
An example of our fees for a weekday consultation fees are below.