Our Billing Explained
We are a private billing practice and appreciate full payment of fees on the day of consultation. Fees are payable by cash, credit card or EFTPOS. Accounts are unfortunately not able be given. A Medicare rebate will apply to consultation fees and at the time of payment the practice can apply your rebate directly into your bank account via your EFTPOS card, OR you may choose to have it directly deposited into your account from Medicare. The AMA fee structure forms the basis of our billing policy and our fees reflect the time taken and degree of complexity in each consultation. Please also note that several of our doctors are independent contractors and set fees that are higher than our practice fees. Please enquire with reception regarding the fees for your doctor at the time of booking particularly for procedures.
1. What is bulk billing?
Bulk billing means that the practice is paid directly by Medicare, on behalf of the patient. This means that the amount paid for each medical service is the amount set by the Australian Government. Note that some consultations such as occupational and Workcover consultations are not covered at all by Medicare and will need to be paid for privately at the time of consultation.
2. Do you bulk bill?
Some services are bulk billed, including childhood immunisations, chronic disease care plans (item 721) and Government funded health assessments.
3. Why don’t you bulk bill everything?
Unfortunately the amount set by the Government for a consultation is insufficient to cover the costs of providing a high quality medical service. For example the Medicare rebate for a standard consultation is $37.05, now increased to $38.20 as of July 2019, the first increase in many years. The government pays this for a complex consultation lasting up to 20 minutes, and from this the doctor pays a percentage to the practice to cover practice running costs.
4. Why would I choose to pay a private fee rather than go to a bulk billing clinic?
Because of the low value the Australian Government places on primary care and General Practitioners as discussed above, bulk billing clinics will often need to see more patients in an hour, often need patients to come back to get test results and may not be able to spend as much time addressing your medical needs. At Whitsunday Family Practice we value your time as much as ours. We aim to keep waiting times to a minimum, we offer same day appointments for urgent matters, we have an excellent recall and test result notification system so our patients do not need to return for follow up appointments unless medically necessary, and our excellent staff and service philosophy ensure your experience is as pleasant as possible.
We value our doctors and think they are worth more than the small value the Government puts on their service.
We want to attract and maintain the very best General Practitioners and maintain a very high quality service.
At the same time having lived as students for many years our doctors well understand financial difficulty and have the discretion to bulk bill when there is a genuine financial need.