Why We Charge A Consultation Fee Instead of Bulk Billing
Most people ask this question before going or having their eye’s checked up, “Do you bulk bill?”, so to answer that question, Adam and The Eye Place team made a video explanation on why we don’t do bulk billing and charge a consultation fee instead.
Hi everyone Adam from The Eye Place here, back with a new topic for your viewing pleasure.
So, I think one of the most commonly asked questions for most medical practitioners is – do you bulk bill? Which is completely understandable given that we all want to know how much it’s going to cost.
So then, let’s get clear about what Bulk Billing means. Medical practitioners have the choice to either bulk bill or charge a consultation fee. Bulk Billing is where the practitioner is being paid by the government the schedule fee and the patient has no out-of-pocket expense. Whereas a consultation fee is where the practitioner sets the fee that the patient pays directly to the practitioner. Then the government reimburses the patient the Scheduled Fee amount for the service that they’ve received.
So, why would a practitioner choose to charge a consultation fee?
Well, it’s all got to do with the government’s Schedule Fee rate. This is the amount that they (the government) are willing to pay for a service that you’re providing. More often than not, that rate is just not feasible for the quality of service that the practitioner wants to provide to their patients. A consultation fee allows the practitioner to set their own fees for the services that they are providing.
When Anna and I set up The Eye Place, we spent a lot of time figuring out whether we would Bulk Bill, or charge a consultation fee. We concluded that to give our patients the best possible care and experience, the consultation fee model was the way to go. And it has worked really well.
Consultation Fee V.S Bulk Billing
To the main benefits of a consultation fee model are that we can spend more time with each patient and the quality of the eye examination that I can provide. I’m able to spend up to 45 minutes with each patient which allows me to perform a full exam of your eye health, your prescription needs, as well as performing retinal photos and scans that can be compared to previous scans that you’ve had, and then stored for future reference.
We consistently receive feedback on how thorough the eye examinations are, and how well things were explained during the eye examination. This is the experience that we want each and every patient to have at The Eye Place.
The Bulk Billing model simply would not allow this experience for each of our patients. Currently, and these amounts are frozen until at least 2020, the government will pay a Scheduled Fee of $56 or $26 for a full examination of your eyes. The price difference all depends upon when you last had your eyes examined, and if you are under or over 65 years of age.
As you can appreciate these rates make it impossible to provide the same quality of examination under the Bulk Billing model. We would need to, at least, halve the consultation time. As well as, cut out many of the tests that are standard for each and every patient that is examined at The Eye Place.
Many practitioners choose to Bulk Bill, with 15 to 20 minute appointment times. But, this is not the experience I would like to have, and it’s definitely not the experience I would like to give here at The Eye Place.
I hope this gives you a better understanding of Bulk Billing vs consultation fees. There’s a lot of information available on this topic and some interesting data on how the Scheduled Fee has just not kept up with the average and increasing the cost of running a business. I’ve included some articles and websites, in the links below, that I feel will help you to understand this topic.
Download the Article by clicking this link: Medicare Changes for Patients Information Flyer OAA
Or watch THIS to know more.
If you could please leave any comments or thoughts in the comment section below, I’ll be sure to get back to you.
Thanks very much for your time, and thanks for watching this video. Hope to see you soon at The Eye Place