My colleagues and I value the patients of our clinic. As such, I wanted to reach out personally to advise you of some changes that will occur at The Family & Diabetic GP Clinic.
No one likes to talk about money or fees.
The truth is that we are a business and have expenses to pay just like any other. We are not a government organisation that has what seems like an unlimited purse.
From 14 March 2022, we will no longer bulk-bill appointments and there will be some changes to our fees. However, we will continue to bulk-bill Health Assessments, Chronic Illness Care Plan appts/reviews and First Nations Australians. DVA Services will continue to be covered in full by a DVA Card if applicable.
There are a few reasons for this decision which I would like to explain to you.
The fees charged by this practice need to cover all our costs including employing receptionists and practice nurses, and meeting our operating expenses such as rent, medical equipment, PPE, electricity, computers, phones, booking systems and insurance.
We are committed to providing the highest level of medical care possible. We could not provide such a service if we bulk-bill all our patients - without cutting corners, rushing consults and reducing staffing and equipment.
Medicare has made some of us believe medical services should be free, but we wouldn’t expect free services from other businesses.
“Bulk billing” for us means that we do not receive our full fee for our service. For example, a standard consultation (under 20 minutes) costs $85. When this consultation is bulk billed, the doctor only receives the Medicare rebate which is currently $39.10 - which is below cost. The government does not pay the whole cost of the appointment – just the scheduled rebate $39.10.
Like most clinics, we want to retain the best doctors, nurses, health professionals and administration staff. We simply can’t sustain operations or retain our team members into the future if we are often being paid less than half our fee.
In addition, the Covid-19 Pandemic as taken a toll on medical clinics worldwide. The price of medical equipment, consumables and supplies have surged and requirements for clinics have also changed dramatically. We are not reimbursed by the government for any of our PPE.
We believe our fees are equitable and try to be fair. Our fee schedule is attached. We have reduced fees for those that qualify. If you have significant concerns around this, or if you are having extreme difficulties financially, please speak to your doctor individually or reach out to our management team so that we can discuss some possible options for you. Our office Manager Kate is available on (07) 4724 0700 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or ask to speak to me.
If you feel that you can’t remain a patient of our clinic, we will respect your decision and support you in transferring your care elsewhere.
Again, if you wish to let the Government know that the Medicare rebate is insufficient to assist you in meeting the cost of your medical care, please contact your local Member of Parliament and/or the Minister for Health. We appreciate your understanding with this matter.
Dr Kenneth Clark
Director & Founder
The Family & Diabetic GP Clinic