By Albert Road General Practice

Welcome to the Albert Road General Practice blog, Your Health!

For our first post, we would like to take some time to explain healthcare in Australia and how the medical system in Australia works. It’s not uncommon for Australians to not understand how our own system works! We hope you find the information here of assistance in reducing uncertainty when dealing with the health system either at our clinic or elsewhere.

What is Medicare and how does the medical system work in Australia?

Getting a Medicare card

All Australian citizens are issued a Medicare number. From birth until a young adult becomes independent they are usually included on their parents’ Medicare card.

A young person can apply for their own Medicare card once they turn 15. This can be useful if a young person has concerns about their parents knowing they are accessing a health service (there are a variety of reasons why this concern arises for young people). The record of any attendance transacted through this Medicare card will only show up on this Medicare card (and not on the parents’ account). This is very important as reducing barriers to accessing healthcare is an important in improving health outcomes of young people.

Calculating your medical fee

The calculation of the medical fee sometimes creates confusion for patients who don’t understand why they may not be eligible for a certain ‘service’ such as a chronic disease management plan or mental health care plan.

When you see a health professional, a Medicare ‘code’ is applied to the consultation which varies depending on the nature of the service provided. This code is selected from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item list by the health professional.

The amount of money (rebate) the patient may receive for the consultation may vary, depending on the code applied. We apply these codes very seriously, and follow stringent criteria set by Medicare for the application of these codes. There are very serious consequences for health professionals that abuse the Medicare system and use the wrong code.

Bulk billing

Some clinics in Australia will “bulk bill” a patient. This is where the health professional chooses to accept only the MBS rebate amount as payment for their service. Most businesses can only make this a viable business model by having a very high turnover of patients (the more patients per hour, the more money they make).

This can lead to doctors seeing more than ten patients per hour – that is, doctors spending a maximum of six minutes per patient. Taking into account the time required to call the patient from the wait room, to walk to the consultation room and to write notes post-consultation, not much time is left for the actual consultation!

We understand that this model of care can be unpleasant for the patient, and can also be dangerous.

At Albert Road General Practice we have no interest in providing five-minute consultations. We prefer to take our time with each patient to ensure they are heard and cared for appropriately. In order to provide this high quality of care, like all other “private billing” practices, we charge a fee above the Medicare rebate. The difference between the total fee amount and the Medicare rebate amount is known as the ‘gap’, which is your out-of-pocket cost that is charged at the end of your consultation.

 

 

DISCLAIMER – Not Medical or Personal Advice:

The information in our blog, videos, presentations, and all other digital materials (together ‘Content’) is for general information and nothing contained in it is intended to be construed as individual or personal advice. The Content does not take into account your individual health, medical, physical fitness or emotional condition or needs. The Content is not a substitute for medical attention, treatment, examination, advice or diagnosis and is not intended to provide a clinical diagnosis nor take the place of proper medical advice from a fully qualified medical practitioner. You should, before you act or use any of this Content, consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your own personal situation and needs. You are responsible for consulting a suitable medical professional before using any of the information or materials contained in our Content, before trying any treatment or taking any course of action that may directly or indirectly affect your health or well-being. You take full responsibility and risk for making any decision based on our Content or information on this website. You hereby agree to irrevocably release and waive any claims you may have now or in the future against us and we take no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any loss, damage or injury that may arise from any person acting on any of our Content or information contained on this website and all such liabilities are expressly disclaimed.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

This Content is the copyright of J&J Jones Medical Pty Ltd trading as Albert Road General Practice © 2020. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the Content in any form is prohibited. You may not share, copy or redistribute this Content in any medium or format at any time. Our Content is for your individual personal use only and may not be used for commercial purposes. You are not permitted to make any derivative material, including but not limited to copying, reproducing, transforming, sharing or building upon the Content in whole or any part thereof. For any other use or distribution, you must have express written consent from Albert Road General Practice.

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DISCLAIMER – Not Medical or Personal Advice:

The information in our blog, videos, presentations, and all other digital materials (together ‘Content’) is for general information and nothing contained in it is intended to be construed as individual or personal advice. The Content does not take into account your individual health, medical, physical fitness or emotional condition or needs. The Content is not a substitute for medical attention, treatment, examination, advice or diagnosis and is not intended to provide a clinical diagnosis nor take the place of proper medical advice from a fully qualified medical practitioner. You should, before you act or use any of this Content, consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your own personal situation and needs. You are responsible for consulting a suitable medical professional before using any of the information or materials contained in our Content, before trying any treatment or taking any course of action that may directly or indirectly affect your health or well-being. You take full responsibility and risk for making any decision based on our Content or information on this website. You hereby agree to irrevocably release and waive any claims you may have now or in the future against us and we take no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any loss, damage or injury that may arise from any person acting on any of our Content or information contained on this website and all such liabilities are expressly disclaimed.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

This Content is the copyright of J&J Jones Medical Pty Ltd trading as Albert Road General Practice © 2020. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the Content in any form is prohibited. You may not share, copy or redistribute this Content in any medium or format at any time. Our Content is for your individual personal use only and may not be used for commercial purposes. You are not permitted to make any derivative material, including but not limited to copying, reproducing, transforming, sharing or building upon the Content in whole or any part thereof. For any other use or distribution, you must have express written consent from Albert Road General Practice.