Request to increase Medicare reimbursement

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The Federal Government is being urged to increase Medicate reimbursement by 10% amid reports that a growing number of GPs are moving away from bundle billing.

A HealthEd survey of 500 GPs found that 22% had changed their billing model, leaving patients to face higher fees for seeing a GP.

Hoppers Crossing resident Tulsi Patel said she struggled to find a doctor who bills wholesale after her usual GP switched to private billing.

“Some clinics aren’t accepting new patients, some are having trouble getting appointments now, probably because everyone is trying to find a doctor who charges big bucks,” she said.

“We pay a Medicare levy, a Medicare supplement, have private health insurance, and pay very high taxes.

“Despite all of this, we have to pay out of pocket for basic GP visits and when you consider that all costs are rising due to inflation and salaries are not rising at the same rate, it It’s hard to keep up.”

The president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Assistant Professor Karen Price, said reimbursements to Medicare patients for GP consultations had not kept pace with the cost of providing high quality care.

“General practice is facing this, and unless the government increases investment in GP care, more practices will be forced to pass the costs on to patients,” she said.

“This is not a decision taken lightly and no one likes the idea of ​​asking their patients to pay more, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet at a time when the costs of groceries and fuel are increasing, to name a few.

“But practices have no choice because their own costs are rising, and Medicare reimbursements simply haven’t kept up with the cost of delivering high-quality care. Our hands are tied, we desperately need help.

“We are asking for a 10% increase in Medicare reimbursements for consultations 20-40 minutes and 40 minutes plus as well as a new Medicare item for consultations over an hour.”

Health Minister Mark Butler said primary care was in its worst shape since Medicare began.

“Across the country we are hearing stories of Australians not being able to come in to see a wholesale billing doctor or GP switch from bulk billing to mixed billing,” he said.

“The reality is that after nine years of cuts and neglect by the previous government, it has never been harder or more expensive for Australians to see a GP.”


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