Iluka medical centre is mixed billing practice from 1st March 2022. Patients who hold valid pension card, health care card and children under will be still bulk billed.
All other patients and patients with no Medicare card will be privately charged as below.
|Monday to Friday Mixed Billing||Fee||Medicare Rebate||Out of Pocket|
|Sunday – Private billing ALL patients||Fee||Medicare Rebate||Out of Pocket|
Private fees for the services which cannot be billed to Medicare:
- Insurance Medical
- Commercial drive medical
- Cancelled Driving Licence
- Dive Medicals
Reasons for the change in policy:
From the very beginning, we have been striving to recruit doctors to provide high quality care to the community by providing sufficient appointments and to open extended hours.
Unfortunately, most of the doctors in past who showed interest in working at Iluka Medical centre decided not to pursue working here as soon as they learnt that we are Bulk-billing medical centre. This was mainly due to the misconception that we provide Volume-based business model (income depends on seeing a greater number of patients with 10 min appointment and addressing single issue only in each consult). Now as our patients are aware, this is not the case at IMC, it was not possible to convince those doctors. They decided to work in medical centres nearby to maintain their financial sustainability as those medical centres were mixed billing centres.
The point about transition from Bulk-billing to mixed billing is not to inflict financial hardship on the patient, but to find a dollar amount that equates to having the service valued for what is actually costs and what it is actually worth.
At this point, we would also like to clarify one more point. The fee associated with your consultation with doctor needs to cover all our practice costs including employing nurses and receptionist as well as covering operational cost such as rent, medical equipment, electricity, insurances and keeping up with technical advances that improve patient’s experience.
All the above-mentioned expenses are unfortunately not covered by Medicare. As you can imagine, the impact of covid, the rent and outgoings, staff wages and supply of medical consumables cost a lot and we need to maintain the sustainably while proving quality service.
The two biggest advantages of mixed billing are:
- Availability of more appointments, especially those who need emergency appointments but not sick enough to present to the hospital emergency department for care. This would also mean that you do not have to wait for too long in hospital while waiting to see a doctor.
- Running the appointments on-time. This shall help in reducing the amount of time you have to wait to see a doctor.
Who would still be Bulk billed?
Access to healthcare is our top priority. Therefore, certain patients will continue to be bulk-billed. these include.
- All patients under 16 years of age, and over 65 years of age. All Pensioners, healthcare card holder including any patient on disability support pension.
- All Vaccinations (including covid/eligible flu/childhood) will continue to be Bulk billed.
- All our current regular patients with chronic diseases who are on a care plan for their disease management, they would be bulk billed for chronic disease management plans and follow up related to those management plans. Note: This forms major bulk of patients who frequently need to visit GP surgery.
- All Mental health care plans and three-monthly reviews associated with them would continue to be bulk billed.
- Patients currently facing financial hardships, unemployed and financially struggling, or whose financial situation is significantly affected by COVID-19 would be considered for bulk-billing.
- All front-line healthcare staff dealing with COVID-19 patients including nurses, doctors, and paramedical staff.
- The appointment made only for follow up of investigations requested during their initial consult would be bulk billed. (Another very common reason for GP visits).
Unfortunately, Private billing to ALL (including children and any concession card holders) is the only option to keep the medical centre open during week end. As you can imagine a doctors and staffs go on a roster to come to work during weekend rather than spending quality time with family and friends.
Patients who wish to transfer their care due to the change in billing policy (especially who only moved to IMC solely for bulk billing purpose) should contact the reception to request transfer of their file to another clinic. The practice would try to arrange the transfer of records free of cost in 1st three months of change in billing policy. We respect your right to exercise choice of seeking healthcare at a place of your preference.
The receptionist will be able to assist you in most cases, however if you wish to speak to your doctor, he/she may have to return your call when consultations have ended.
Patients must make an appointment for repeat prescriptions. They will not be issued without being seen by the GP
REFERRALS TO SPECIALISTS
If the doctor considers that a medical need exists for specialist treatment a referral will be provided. It is therefore important to make an appointment with the doctor who will discuss your problem with you and help you to decide on the appropriate course of action.
For patients who require regular check ups, immunizations and / or screening, we offer a recall service. This is done automatically unless we are advised that you would prefer not to be notified.
Medical certificates are legal documents. In order to obtain a medical certificate for work a consultation with your doctor is required. It is not legal to back date a certificate.
Patients are required to make a follow up appointment to discuss any abnormal results. Normal and INR results can be obtained from our practice nurse.