SFMP moving to Mixed Billing 4 July 2022
June 6th, 2022
SFMP has a great reputation in the local community for quality of service and care to patients.
Unfortunately, SFMP is no longer able to continue to provide this level of care, and at the same time, support the reception staff, practice nurses and other medical and nursing staff under Medicare’s Bulk Billing System.
The practice faces several challenges under a bulk billing system for the following reasons:
- Since 2012, the Medicare rebate for a standard consult has remained less than $40. This has not kept pace with indexation.
- Whilst the medicare rebate has remained the same, the cost of running a practice (staff wages, superannuation, water and electricity) has steadily increased.
- All other Medicare items for general practice have also not kept pace with indexation either, and several Medicare billing items and incentives have also disappeared over the same period, leaving GPs fewer things billable to Medicare, and SFMP has continued to provide those same services.
- There is a shortage of young GPs wishing to work due to poor pay with bulk billing. Young doctors are demanding a higher commission to work and are not looking to work in a practice that does not charge a gap. They are not to blame as they also suffer the rising costs of living and need to pay university debt. This has made it difficult to employ additional doctors.
From the 4th of July 2022, Smithfield Family Medical Practice will shift to a mixed billing practice, charging a gap payment of $20 for all patients between 16 and 65 years who do not have a health care card.
With this modest contribution, SFMP will be able to continue to provide a high-quality service, improve waiting times and source additional doctors and nursing staff to better patient’s experience.
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