Our consultation fees will change from 10 October onwards. There will be a small increase in the private fees for each consultation. And we will now be charging private fees for all consultations except those that are part of a care plan or similar process.
We have not taken the decision to increase our fees lightly, and have been carefully considering the impact of this on our patients.
The cost of providing a high quality medical service increases year on year. Unfortunately the Medicare rebate that you receive for a consultation with our GPs has not been increased by the Commonwealth Government for a number of years, and will remain frozen for a further 4 years.
As the rebate has fallen so far behind the actual cost of providing our service, we cannot continue to provide the same service if we bulk bill most patients. We need to be able to give our patients the proper amount of time in the consultation, and we will not rush because rebates are low. We also want to maintain the comprehensive nature of our care, including our nursing support and recall systems.
We are committed to recruiting the very best doctors to Melton, and this is harder and harder to do as the Medicare rebate falls behind our costs. This is another reason why the billing policy of our centre has had to change.
Although Westcare will charge private fees for almost all our consultations from 10 October 2016, consultations that are specifically part of a “care plan” process or annual health assessment will be bulk billed.
This means that people with a ‘chronic disease’ may be able to see their doctor 3-4 times per year to plan their care or perform an in depth assessment, and these appointments will be bulk billed. Likewise fees are bulk billed for health assessments for all over 75 year olds, Aboriginal people and people with intellectual disability, and for our nurse-led diabetes and asthma clinics. On our website we have put some information about this, including a list of some of the chronic conditions that might be eligible. Please ask your doctor whether this will work for you.
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We hope that we do provide a valuable service, consistent with the fees we are charging. if you are not happy with an aspect of the service you receive, please contact the Practice Manager so we can work on improving. If you are not happy with the rebate the Government provides for your consultation, please write to your local MP.