Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Why do doctors at this Practice charge a fee for medical services and not bulk bill every service delivered to patients?
The Medicare rebate (the fee received by your doctor if he/she bulk bills a service) does not reflect the true cost of maintaining a modern medical practice and the cost of maintaining individual registration, medical indemnity cover and skills. By charging a reasonable fee for the majority of medical services, your doctor is able to spend more time discussing your medical problems with you, especially if these problems are complex or multifaceted. Because our doctors charge a fee, they are not under pressure to see a large number of patients each hour and are therefore able to give patients as much time as is necessary. We believe this improves the quality of the service provided to patients with both simple and complex issues. It also allows time for your doctor to discuss preventative health issues with you at greater length, with fantastic benefits for your long-term health.
Q2: How much am I likely to be out of pocket?
We try to keep our fees as low as possible. In general, our fees are 65-70% of the corresponding AMA recommended fees. We believe this represents excellent value for our patients. A large proportion of the fee is refunded through the Medicare rebate, upon attendance to a Medicare office. For those who find it difficult to get to a Medicare office, there are other options available. Please ask our Reception staff for more information about these options.
Q3: Are there any situations where I may be bulk billed?
Yes, certainly. Our billing schedule is flexible and each doctor can bulk bill if he or she feels that this is appropriate. Situations in which patients may be charged a discounted fee or bulk billed include:
- Frail, elderly patients.
- Acutely ill patients, especially children.
- Multiple reviews in quick succession for the same problem (e.g. sick children).
- Couples or multiple family members presenting together.
- Quick visits (e.g. injections, repeat prescriptions, referral letters).
- Nurse visits (e.g. dressings, removal of sutures).
- Bona fide financial hardship.
- All medical services for DVA cardholders are billed directly to Veteran’s Affairs, with no out-of-pocket expenses to the veteran.
Q4. How am I billed for surgical procedures?
Surgical procedures such as skin lesion excisions require more time and extra skills. There are extra costs to the practice such as local anaesthetics, suture material and dressings that need to be taken into account. To minimise up-front costs to our patients, we charge a non-refundable ‘Booking fee’ when the procedure is booked. On the day of the actual procedure, the patient is then bulk-billed. The less satisfactory alternative is to charge the full amount up-front to the patient on the day of the procedure – this can amount to several hundred dollars in the case of complicated procedures.