Fees Policy – Frequently Asked Questions
Dapto Medical & Family Practice
Fees Policy – Frequently Asked Questions
- When will the new Fees commence?
- 1st of October 2022
- Why are the GPs introducing a fee when they have been bulk-billing for so long?
- Unfortunately, the Medicare rebates do not cover the full cost of providing quality GP care, including the costs of all of the overheads that go into running a practice, and as such the GPs and the practice have been subsidising the shortfall in the cost of healthcare for a number of years. The MBS rebates have been indexed at a much lower rate than CPI over the past 30 years, e.g. the MBS was indexed at 1.6% in July 2022 and current CPI is running at 5.1%. The GPs working in our practice are all highly trained, very experienced specialist GPs, and are committed to providing the highest level of care possible. The fees have been set to enable that level of care and commitment to continue.
- How have the GP fees been set in your practice?
- The fees set by the GPs working in our practice have been determined by factoring in the true cost of healthcare, good record keeping, the cost of continued GP training and education, the cost of equipment and I.T., insurance, rent and practice support staff costs etc. The fees set are also less than the Australian Medial Association (AMA) recommended fees. The AMA’s standard consultation fee is $86.00.
- Why can some GPs in other practices still afford to bulk-bill when your GPs are introducing gap fees?
- All practices are set up differently, however typically where GPs are solely bulk billed, they need to see a higher volume of patients in order to keep the business afloat. Our GPs want to continue to provide the highest quality of care.
- Drs are already paid very well through Medicare, why should they be able to put their fees up?
- Medicare rebates are the rebates provided to patients, and are not the fees set by the government for GP payment. Where a GP bulk-bills a patient, they are accepting the Medicare rebate as the full fee for that service. The Medicare rebates do not properly cover the costs of consumables (eg dressings, sutures etc). For the practice to be able to retain and attract high performing GPs, GP remuneration needs to remain competitive with practices elsewhere.
- Why are some patients bulk-billed and not others?
- The GPs in this practice are committed to providing accessible and affordable care to all patients. They are also committed to caring for vulnerable patients, which is why children aged 16yrs and under and pensioners will be bulk-billed for all normal GP consults (some fees may still apply for procedural services). All other patients are asked to contribute to the cost of their healthcare by providing a gap fee.
- My friend is bulk-billed by one of the GPs working here, why doesn’t he/she bulk-bill me?
- “The billing arrangement between a GP and their patient is an individual arrangement and your GP may consider your individual circumstances, however there is no guarantee they will be able to bulk bill you. Our full fees list is available on our website and at reception so you will know before your appointment what level of fee you may be required to pay and what the “gap” or “out of pocket fee” will be. Our Practice Website is: dmfp.com.au.
- I’ve been coming here for years for “free”, why should I start paying now?
- Whilst you may not have noticed it, even when you have been bulk-billed, the Medicare rebate is your rebate, not the Drs, and as such you have been paying the GP your Medicare rebate when you have been bulk-billed. Unfortunately given successive Commonwealth governments have not indexed the Medicare rebates in line with inflation, the GPs in our practice are no longer able to continue to provide their services for the Medicare rebate alone. Hopefully you will appreciate that our GPs deserve a fair and reasonable fee in return for the high level of care they provide, and their years of training and experience.
- I don’t want to pay anything to see a GP, so I’m going to leave your practice.
- We realise that the implementation of “gap” or out-of-pocket fees may result in some patients choosing to move to another practice, and that is each patient’s right.
Whilst we would dearly love to continue to help all patients, if you would like to move your medical records from DMFP to a different GP clinic, we will promptly arrange a Health Summary to be sent to your new clinic.
We do not charge a fee for sending a Health Summary to another clinic, but we reserve the right to charge a $30.00 fee covering our costs if the other clinic requests your file be sent by disc or paper file as there are significant Admin costs involved.
- I think it is unfair that your GPs no longer bulk-bill all patients and I’m going to complain to the authorities. Who should I complain to?
- In NSW, if you have a complaint about the health care you receive, or the cost of healthcare, you are entitled to lodge a complaint with the Health Care Complaints Commission (https://www.hccc.nsw.gov.au/contact-us). You may also notify your local federal member of parliament, as the Medicare rebates are set and controlled by the Commonwealth government.
- How will I pay for the Fees and claim my Medicare rebate?
- For patient convenience, we offer electronic claiming, your claim will be sent to Medicare through a secure internet connection. Your Medicare benefit will be paid into the bank account registered with Medicare (subject to you having a valid/in date Medicare card).
- Is it legal for GPs to charge more than the Medicare rebates?
- Like most professionals, GPs are able to set fees at a level which they feel is reasonable and fair.
- I’m a refugee, how much will I need to pay to see a GP?
- All Refugees with a valid healthcare card will be bulk-billed for standard GP Consultations (subject to you having a valid/in date Medicare card). Additional procedures may incur a fee.
- What’s your cancellation policy?
- If you are unable to make it to your appointment, please provide at least 4 hours’ notice so we can offer your appointment to another patient. Where patients do not provide 4 hours’ cancellation notice, they will be charged a cancellation fee of $30.00 which is not claimable on Medicare. If you need to cancel your appointment, please phone us on 42616888 or if you have made your appointment online, please cancel your appointment through HotDoc.
The decision to move to mixed billing was not taken lightly. We are committed to maintaining and improving the quality of healthcare we provide and have had to take this step-in order to protect the sustainability of our practice. We cannot thank you enough for your ongoing support of our practice – in the past and into the future as we make this decision.
Doctors & Management of DMFP