From September 1, 2015
What is the co-payment or gap?
A co-payment or gap is a payment for doctor’s services in addition to what is covered by Medicare.
When will it be introduced?
From September 1, all visits to the doctor will require the co-payment however there are some exclusions.
What are the exclusions?
Patients under the age of 16, patients with a concession or pensioner card, with a long term, chronic illness or at the doctor’s discretion (such as a return visit to receive test results) will not be required to pay the co-payment. If you feel that you are under financial hardship please speak to us. Your health is our number one concern.
How much is the co-payment?
The co-payment is $22.95. You will be charge the full consultation rate of $60 and Medicare will refund you $37.05.
Why is BDHC introducing a co-payment?
BDHC needs to continue to meet the expectations of the growing community by providing additional resources and additional highly skilled and knowledgeable medical practitioners. A co-payment allows us to retain and attract highly skilled and knowledgeable doctors. This is the level of service we believe the people of Ballan deserve.
If we don’t offer a co-payment we are at risk of our current experienced doctors accepting opportunities elsewhere.
In addition, the Medicare rebate, which is the income received by the doctors for each consultation, have been frozen for at least the next 4 years, while the cost of running the clinic and inflation will rise.
What sort of community consultation took place prior to the board making this decision?
There are often periods where the clinic does not have enough appointments to keep up with community demands. This is particularly evident later in the evening to service our commuting population and on weekends. This is feedback received directly to the front of house team, weekend presentation to our emergency department and via written response. At our community meeting it was raised numerous times about how overworked some of our doctors are. We couldn’t agree with you more. We see how hard they work for their patients. We don’t want to see them burn out or take up offers elsewhere, so we want to support their workload by providing additional resources.
The government proposed a $7 co-payment which was adopted. Why is the BDHC co-payment so much higher?
The proposed $7 co-payment was designed around fiscal policy with $2 going to the doctor and $5 going to the Federal Budget. The BDHC co-payment is designed solely for the purpose of retaining and attracting highly skilled and knowledgeable medical practitioners to the clinic and the cost of paying for chronic disease nurses, general practice nurses, front of house staff and medical supplies such as medicines and bandages, for which there is no government funding. The co-payment the board has approved is lower than state average.
How will it work?
When you come to the clinic you will present your Medicare card and your bankcard to the service desk. BDHC will process the full payment of $60 onto your card. Within 18 minutes Medicare will have deposited $37 .05 back into your account. Please make sure you have your details registered with Medicare so your rebate can automatically be deposited back into your account. Click here for the form.
What is BDHC going to provide me now that I need to pay extra for services?
BDHC will provide the services of additional highly skilled and knowledgeable doctors, provide more services until 8pm weeknights and Saturday mornings, and additional appointments through the hospital clinic on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. By employing additional highly skilled doctors will allow us to bring two registrar doctors into our offering. Registrars are doctors who have completed their education and are in the latter stages of their training. We cannot employ registrars without highly skilled doctors. We can’t employ highly skilled doctors without a co-payment.
Will I need to pay the co-payment for after hours or emergency care?
All outside hours care or emergency hospital care will be required to pay the $23 gap. The same exclusions apply as for the clinic: those under the age of 16, pension and concession card holders, chronic long term illnesses or at the doctor’s discretion will be bulk billed.
Where did the age cut-off of 16 for bulk billing come from? Many young people of this age are still full time students and cannot afford the co-payment.
BDHC have adopted the national health safety net policy which covers up to age 16.
Why does BDHC still need to fundraise if I now need to pay a gap?
The co-payments will provide sustainability in our GP workforce. That means we will be able to retain and attract highly skilled and knowledgeable medical practitioners to the clinic for the long term. The fundraising for the hospital is directed to acquire special pieces of equipment the hospital can’t afford through government funding. This year the hospital is raising money for X-Ray services so patients are able to receive this service locally.
Why was the meeting held at 5.30pm?
Feedback received from the public about the time other meetings are held, such as the AGM, have indicated that 5.30pm is the most appropriate time. A starting time of 6.30pm would have interfered with people’s dinner plans, 7.30-8.30 people are getting kids ready for bed, and 8.30-9.30 is a time too late for people to go out. There is never a time that is going to suit everyone, but taking on board attendance of previous meetings and feedback 5.30pm was the most suitable time. In this instance we also needed to work around other previous bookings of the hall.
Additional comments/information from community meeting:
- The AGM will be held at the end of September where the annual report will be released and published online. You can view past annual reports here.
- The cost to have a locum doctor contracted to work out of our clinic for a weekend is over $4,500 for one doctor for one weekend. This is a cost the centre cannot afford to absorb nor pass onto the community. However, having more doctors employed through the clinic and available locally, which the co-payment will assist, we will be able to roster our staff on to cover these weekend shifts without the high costs.
- The in-house pharmacy is not to take the place of our chemist in town. As the clinic is providing services outside the hours of UFS we wanted to ensure that all of our patients had access to commence treatment immediately. This service is for the GP to access to dispense a starter pack to get the patient through the night until they can get to the pharmacy to have their script filled. It also allows us immediate access to medicine for our elderly nursing care patients and for the Chemist to explain medicines to those about to be discharged from hospital.