Health Centre bulk billing

paperboy 16 September 2009 35

It’s now been a couple of weeks since it was announced that the Phillip Medical Centre and Ginninderra Medical and Dental centre would start charging $30 for a standard weekday consultation and $40 for a weekend visit to the doctor.

At the time, the Phillip medical centre medical director Robert Allan told the Canberra Times it was a business decision because the owner of the practices Primary Health Care was making a loss.

Bulk-billing was to continue for children under 16 and pensioners or health care card holders, but as for ordinary working people there was going to be an up-front fee.

So for those who visit the centres, how’s it going?

Has it reduced the waiting time, or caused any angst among those having to pay.

And is there a refund from Medicare of that up-front fee?


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35 Responses to Health Centre bulk billing
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Archangel Archangel 7:06 am 16 Oct 09

Doctors are there to get you in and out as soon as they can. And I have to bring that cheque in? OMG. Troublesome!
I am sure they were ‘making a loss’ in sense that they realize they can charge more & they can.

I am going back to my family GP as well ^^

Clown Killer Clown Killer 12:14 pm 30 Sep 09

I had cause to visit the centre in Phillip yesterday morning. It was my first time and I wasn’t looking forward to it given the bad wrap that it had received in the early days.

I was pleasantly surprised. I arrived just before 9.00am, got to see a doctor, have and x-ray and saw the doctor again to discuss the x-ray all in less than 45 minutes. OK so I didn’t get my GP, but I also didn’t have to haul my butt over town to get the x-ray done, and then reschedule to see the doctor again to discuss the results. All-in-all I’d have to say their business model is pretty good.

housebound housebound 11:09 am 30 Sep 09

prhhcd said :

As far as I understand the DA approval was given on the basis of a bulk billing practice!

Katy Gallagher should chase this up with her good friend Andrew Barr.

sepi sepi 9:00 am 30 Sep 09

Well I guess if anyone is still going to these centres the new fee is workign out quite well for them. Pity.

These centres are good in an after hours crisis, but otherwise your own GP is far better.

the person above whose parents were given the big hint to go elsewhere ‘as you can afford it’, the medical centre dr was either giving them the tip-off that they would get better care at a normal GP, or else was adhering to policy of getting rid of complex (time-consuming) on-going illness patients from medical centres. Complex cases do not make money for doctors.

peterh peterh 1:45 am 30 Sep 09

the phillip centre has been pretty quiet now, but I am certain that this move will shift the non-essential cases back to TCH ED dept. and bottleneck it, making true emergency patients wait even longer.

RatsNest RatsNest 12:38 pm 22 Sep 09

Just as an update, I’ve received the cheque so yes, it does go to the patient to pass on to the medical centre.

low_income_earner low_income_earner 7:04 pm 21 Sep 09

I am a childcare worker. I get paid just under $480 a week and my rent is $300 a week. Despite my low income, I still earn too much to qualify for a Health Care Card or any centrelink assistance. Most weeks I don’t have two cents to rub together, never mind trying to find $60+ to see my GP. For me, the Phillip Medical Centre was a good alternative to my GP on the weeks when I’m broke! $30 is better, but not if it’s still a walk-in service, and especially not if you have to do their mail for them!!
Really it’s the low-income earners who are the ones who are suffering with this. Yes, I may be turning up to the Emergency Department a lot more, but only because I literally can’t afford to see a doctor in a practice!!

Anna Key Anna Key 8:42 am 21 Sep 09

Called into the Phillip centre yesterday to go to the chemist and the waiting room was a lot quieter than I remembered it from before, so it looks like the patient traffic has slowed (based on the 5 mins I was there).

“I have been to Ginniderra Medical Centre since it introduced the $30 fee.. My receipt states the appointment was $63.55, Payment received $30 – Outstanding $33.55 to be paid for by Medicare.”

What happens if you have reached the safety net? You would get more than $33.55 as a rebate, or do you need to go to Medicare to get the rest?

Genie Genie 3:06 pm 18 Sep 09

vandam said :

justbands said :

> I thought the purpose of that centre was to provide at least one bulk billing service for non health care card holders in Belco. Back to Emergency it is.

Back to Emergency???? Half the problems we have are thanks to people with a sniffle crowding up the Emergency ward! Personally, I’d say if you earn a wage…then you can afford a GP. Find one, use them (& NOT the Emergency wards!), pay. Simple really.

Hang on here. Every year We all pay an outrageous amount to Medicare. This year I paid around $1000. I did not use the public system once during that year.

If I get the sniffles or need to see a doc, why should I have to pay after already paying $1000 for nothing? They should look at capping say 5 free visits per year.

I also on top of that pay for private health insurance. It’s rediculous that people can spend up to $2000 a year on health combined, never use it or use it once and still be expected to pay $30-$40 for a simple consultation.

Ummm usually if you have private medical cover, you don’t have to pay the medicare levy. That was my assumption.

And trust me it is quite easy to spend over $2000 in one year on medical ! I know I’ve spent more than this treating an injury

Vanilla Bean Vanilla Bean 12:57 pm 18 Sep 09

I don’t blame them in a way. I have been at the Ginninderra Medical Clinic and seen people go in with their entire families (4 or 5 relatives) rather than making separate appointments, just to take advantage of the “free” service. I also imagine a lot of their trade is helicopter parents who visit 2-3 times a week if their kid sneezes or has a tummy ache – because they don’t have to pay so they think they might as well. If paying $30 discourages at least some of these people, thereby reducing the waiting times for the rest of us, all good.

outdoormagoo outdoormagoo 1:03 pm 17 Sep 09

If you go to the ED and see a doctor, consider yourself lucky. Being from Sydney myself and having been to several ED of major hospitals up there with genuine emergencies, one of the first questions you are asked when ou walk in is what are you there for. If it is not an emergency, they will tell you to go home and call your GP.

It has happened to two people I know in Queanbeyan as well. ED Nurse – ‘Got the sniffles. You’ll be right. Go home and call your doctor.’

prhhcd prhhcd 12:25 pm 17 Sep 09

post #10 – thats what I meant. It is farking our system. Which is why ACT health will hopefully step in. As far as I understand the DA approval was given on the basis of a bulk billing practice!

captainwhorebags captainwhorebags 7:27 am 17 Sep 09

…and if you’re sick after hours, you can ring up CALMS and get an allocated appointment time. It’ll cost you, but you won’t be waiting in ED for four hours.

Genie Genie 12:21 am 17 Sep 09

I have been to Ginniderra Medical Centre since it introduced the $30 fee.. My receipt states the appointment was $63.55, Payment received $30 – Outstanding $33.55 to be paid for by Medicare.

I have no objection to this new policy, the day I arrived I was unable to get in to see a specific doctor and was told to either return at 130pm that afternoon, or I could book an appointment for 6pm the following day.

For those of you who would rather attend the ER because you have to pay $30 or wait a few hours to see the doctor.. UMM HELLO… How long are you going to have to wait at the ER ? Which is an EMERGENCY ROOM – are you attending with an emergency ? Or can it wait until you can see a doctor ?

vandam vandam 11:36 pm 16 Sep 09

justbands said :

> I thought the purpose of that centre was to provide at least one bulk billing service for non health care card holders in Belco. Back to Emergency it is.

Back to Emergency???? Half the problems we have are thanks to people with a sniffle crowding up the Emergency ward! Personally, I’d say if you earn a wage…then you can afford a GP. Find one, use them (& NOT the Emergency wards!), pay. Simple really.

Hang on here. Every year We all pay an outrageous amount to Medicare. This year I paid around $1000. I did not use the public system once during that year.

If I get the sniffles or need to see a doc, why should I have to pay after already paying $1000 for nothing? They should look at capping say 5 free visits per year.

I also on top of that pay for private health insurance. It’s rediculous that people can spend up to $2000 a year on health combined, never use it or use it once and still be expected to pay $30-$40 for a simple consultation.

flynnite flynnite 9:24 pm 16 Sep 09

I have been 3 times since the $30 charge and each time I have had my usual Doctor. The longest I have waited is an hour as the Doctor wasn’t due to start until 11am. I was through and had a good checkup and was in my car by 11.45am.

I have been to other Doctors surgeries with family members and watched them wait over an hour and pay $76.

Pathology is still bulk billed. I suppose XRay is as well.

I am ok with paying and it isn’t so busy anymore.

Haven’t had any mention of any cheques.

busgirl busgirl 8:00 pm 16 Sep 09

barking toad said :

And #2 – “back to emergency” is exactly the attitude that is helping to fark our health system

Agree.

Igglepiggle said :

Medicare has a system in place wherein if the cheque isn’t banked by the practice witin a certain period of time (I think its 45 days) then the money gets paid straight to the practice and the cheque cancelled…ever wonder why so many practices are pay on the day only? ( and thats all health practices, not only doctors)

I believe it is 90 days. And yes that is generally the reason why practices stop bulk billing…

…compared to some countries we seriously have a fabulous health system…those who can afford to pay should do so…people should stop expecting to get everything for free…either pay for a specific appointment time or don’t pay and expect a long waiting time…simple really and quite reasonable as far as I’m concerned.

gun street girl gun street girl 6:50 pm 16 Sep 09

justbands said :

Back to Emergency???? Half the problems we have are thanks to people with a sniffle crowding up the Emergency ward! Personally, I’d say if you earn a wage…then you can afford a GP. Find one, use them (& NOT the Emergency wards!), pay. Simple really.

Not really – the problem stems from access block, which is not caused by GP type patients presenting to ED. The whole “stop minor illnesses from cluttering the ED and the hospital will be okay” is a relatively inexpensive claim, used by politicians who don’t like to own up to the real (much more tricky and expensive) problem.

pepmeup pepmeup 6:17 pm 16 Sep 09

a stat dec can be used for sick leave and can be filled in by a pharmisist ( when yo get you medicine. If you just need a cert to get out of work, stay away from these centres to make it quicker for those who may have a real sickness.

OzPhoenix OzPhoenix 3:58 pm 16 Sep 09

justbands said :

Back to Emergency???? Half the problems we have are thanks to people with a sniffle crowding up the Emergency ward! Personally, I’d say if you earn a wage…then you can afford a GP. Find one, use them (& NOT the Emergency wards!), pay. Simple really.

But the problem is, just because you can afford a GP does not mean you can get in and see your GP. There’s so few of them serving an ever increasing population that you normally can’t get in to see them when you need them.

Previous place I worked required a doctors cert even if just having one day off sick. Most of the time I could not get into my GP within a minimum of 3 days! Sure, I didn’t resort to use the emergency department, but it normally meant I either stayed at work (worrying that I’d make others sick) or spend the day trying to find a doctor that had space.

It’s really not simple at all.

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