Beat Disease and Keep Fighting Fit
About Me
Beat Disease and Keep Fighting Fit

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. My name is Debbie and I am a housewife from Alice Springs, Australia. I love the life I have here with my wonderful husband and our four kids. It all started about a year ago when I realised that I couldn't read the label on a jar of food I was trying to open. I asked my husband if there was a problem with the way the label had been printed but he said he could read it just fine. He booked me an appointment at Vision2000Kota and they carried out some test to rule out any serious problems. Thankfully, I just needed to start wearing glasses. I hope you enjoy my health and medical blog.

Beat Disease and Keep Fighting Fit

What Can You Do if Your Practice Can't Afford to Bulk Bill?

Regina Barnett

As a GP, you want to help people. However, as a practice owner, you want to build a viable business that is a source of income for you and the rest of your staff.

While you may have adopted bulk billing already, this system may not bring in as much money as you need to run your practice. You're currently accepting lower payments from Medicare so that your patients don't have to pay gap charges.

If you switch to a full-payment billing model, your patients would pay you in full then claim a rebate for part or all of their costs from Medicare. However, you worry about how some of your patients would cope if they had to pay their own gap costs.

If you'd prefer not to do this, then there is a middle ground option. You could use both systems at the same time. How can you make this happen?

Offer Bulk Billing to Selected Patients

If you want, you can offer bulk billing to selected groups of patients, or even to individuals if you like. You then bill all other patients on a standard basis.

So, for example, you could set rules that you'll bulk bill for children under the age of 16, people on low incomes who qualify for health care cards, and pensioners. This allows you to continue to bulk bill people who really need the extra help. You won't worry about them affording any gap payments.

In some cases, offering bulk billing to a selected group might also get you a bonus incentive that boosts your Medicare income. The government sometimes offers extra payments to GPs who run this system for people with extra needs or low incomes.

Offer Bulk Billing at Set Times

Some GPs run a dual billing system but only bulk bill at certain times during the day. This could apply to all patients or to selected groups.

So, for example, you could allow people to make bulk-billing appointments during a set time period every day or on a few days a week. This often works well if you have quieter periods during the day that you want to fill.

If you have a patient consultation group, then it is worth talking to the group first to see how they feel about any changes you might make. They can give you useful insights into how this might impact on your current and future patients.