|We all know the news that Abbott wants to charge the $7 co-payment. This will affect so many Australians, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the poor, Pensioners, disabled and young families with kids.This also put the General practices in an awkward place, they don’t want to go broke, but some practices only charge the medicare allowance and bulk bill. These practices will go out of business as they have a heart and understand their communities needs. This also will greatly affect the rural and remote doctors who see patients and waive the bill or bulk bill because the farming community can’t afford expensive medical care.
The next step was that the Government tried to slip in their co payment in another way. Under the new co-payment schedule, rebates for GP consultations lasting less than 10 minutes would be reduced. This again outraged the medical community. Is the government so far removed from everyday Australians to not see or care about the impact this is going to have.
Let me share with you one news story about this, from the ABC.
Changes to Medicare billing to cause rise to GP fees, Australian Medical Association says
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned of a rise in medical fees due to new changes to the Medicare benefits schedule coming into effect on January 19.
The Federal Government scrapped its plan for a $7 Medicare co-payment before Christmas, but AMA national president Associate Professor Brian Owler said new changes had outraged general practitioners.
Under the new co-payment schedule, rebates for GP consultations lasting less than 10 minutes would be reduced.
“This has angered GPs more than any of the other proposals, even more than the initial proposal,” Dr Owler said in an interview on 666 ABC Canberra Breakfast.
Dr Owler said changes would have patients paying more out-of-pocket funds for medical expenses.
“Up until now, the consultation fee has been based on the complexity of the consultation,” he said.
“A level A consultation was a simple matter, while a level B required a history exam and a diagnosis and a treatment, usually. Now they’ve moved to a time-based system,” Dr Owler said.
Access to general practitioners could become limited: Owler
Dr Owler warned access to GPs could become even more limited, with healthcare professionals forced to lengthen consultation times to compensate for the new measures.
“We’re not trying to support six-minute medicine with every patient being churned through. That’s not a model that we can support.
From January 19, 2015 consultations will be classified according to time:
- level A consultation rebate (less than 10 minutes) – $16.95
- level B rebate (10-20 mins) – $37.05
- level C rebate (20 to 40 mins) – $71.70
- level D rebate (more than 40 mins) – $105.55
Source: Australian Medical Association
“There are many experienced GPs who have been doing this work for 20 years, and in eight or nine minutes they can take a history, formulate a treatment plan, and explain to the patient that treatment,” he said.
Doctors would need to stretch out the consultation if they wanted to claim a higher rebate or pass the cost on to patients.
“Even if they can do [what needs to be done] in eight or nine minutes … now they’re going to have to stretch it out, which means it’s a very inefficient way of seeing patients,” Dr Owler said.
“If they try and stretch the consultation out and do more and more things, it just lessens the access to GPs.”
Dr Owler said doctors’ ability to bulk bill would also be reduced.
“At the end of the day, many GPs are now working out that the impact that it will have in terms of them being able to cover the costs of running their practice is very substantial and they’ve got no choice but to pass that on to patients,” he said.
“The rates of bulk billing for vulnerable patients are likely to decrease and they are going to be paying a lot more out of their own pocket.”
Other measures included a reduction of the Medicare benefit by $5 for GP services provided to non-concessional patients.
“From July 1, for the non-concession patients, the rebate will actually fall by a further $5, so instead of being $37.05 it will be reduced for those consultations less than 10 minutes to $11.05.
Dr Owler said the new schedule would allow the Federal Government to recoup some of the revenue it would have received from a Medicare co-payment.
“This isn’t about general practice, nor prevention and chronic disease management,” he said.
“What it’s about is saving money and making the bottom line of the budget look better.”
Topics: healthcare-facilities, canberra-2600
So what can we do? Well we raise our voices in protest, a single voice is not enough a lot of voices make a choir. So lets sing and yell, lets be loud and proud and force the government to change their tactics.
I have attached below a petition feel free to share it and join it, lets make a difference
There’s a new petition taking off on Change.org, and we think you might be interested in signing it: