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Australian Consolidated Billing GP Clinic: Find out how your suburb compares to the rest of the country

Key Point
  • New data reveals that consolidated billed GPs are harder to access than the federal government previously suggested.
  • Four voters do not have consolidated billing clinics for new patients.
  • Compare your suburban consolidated billing access to the rest of the country and see how much you’ll be left out of your pocket.
Hundreds of thousands of Australians need to look beyond voters to find GP clinics that offer consolidated billing for new patients, new data reveals.
A report released by online healthcare directory Cleanbill on Sunday highlighted that only 35% of Australian GP clinics offer consolidated billing (where doctors bill Medicare on behalf of patients) to new patients. increase.
The report, titled Health of the Nation, collated data from 6,363 GP clinics from January through April 2023 and sorted by federal voters. Cleanbill says it’s the nation’s most comprehensive survey of GP availability.
Four voters were identified: Newcastle, New South Wales; Mayo, South Australia; Fairfax, Queensland; and Franklin, Tasmania. There are no consolidated billing clinics for new patients in these states.
The data focuses on patients seeking new doctors. GP clinics for some of these voters may only lump sum bill existing patients, but have since scrapped the system for new people entering the clinic.
New South Wales has the highest consolidated billing rate, with just under half of its clinics offering consolidated billing, followed by Victoria at 34.6%, ACT lowest at 5%, and Tasmania at 6.9%. .

The most expensive GP clinics are in Sydney’s federal constituencies Parramatta and Wentworth, where patients are charged an average of $56 or more for a standard consultation.

Cleanbill founder James Gillespie said the findings were “shocking in black and white” but not unexpected for Australians struggling to find new GPs. .
“For hundreds of thousands of Australians, this means they have to leave the electorate if they are looking for new patients or new GPs to take on large bills,” Mr Gillespie said.
This figure is in stark contrast to federal health data released in February, which showed a nationwide consolidated billing rate of 82% from July to December last year, compared with 89% the year before.
Excluding lump sum billed COVID-19 vaccines, that figure drops from 67.5% in 2020-21 to 64.3% in 2021-22.

Cleanbill data were calculated by finding the percentage of Australian clinics that bill adults for standard consultations during normal business hours. This differs from government data, which evaluated all services accessed by GPs.

“If I, as an adult, walk into a clinic with a Medicare card for an appointment on a regular weekday during regular business hours, will I be charged for that appointment? That’s what we do,” said Gillespie. He said.
Federal Health Minister Mark Butler has accused the former coalition government of hiding data that revealed the drop in consolidated billing experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Vaccines and other COVID-19 measures have masked the true extent of lump sum billing declines under the Morrison administration,” he said in a statement to SBS News.
SBS News reached out to opposition health spokeswoman Ann Ruston for comment.
Butler said the inclusion of COVID-19 vaccines and other appointments at GP clinics had artificially increased lump sum billing rates, and the government is working with health officials to ensure Australians get GPs free of charge. Make it easier to get medical attention.

“Being transparent with the public is the first step,” he said.

NSW has the highest percentage of consolidated billing centers and ACT has the lowest. sauce: SBS News

West Sydney voters in Blaxland and Chifley have the highest consolidated billing rates in the country, with 98% of available clinics still offering free services to all patients with Medicare cards. Sydney’s western and southwestern parts have the highest number of consolidated billing clinics in the country, according to federal health data.

Newcastle Labor MP Sharon Claydon has accused the Morrison government of cutting funding, making it “increasingly more difficult” to build a lump-sum GP clinic for voters.

“That’s what I’ve consistently raised against the previous Free Commonwealth government, that by cutting funding and introducing a six-year freeze on Medicare reimbursement, the government will continue to do so while in power. It only actively undermined universal health care,” she said in a statement.
Ms Claydon said a new after-hours GP clinic is expected to reopen at Calvary Meter Hospital in Newcastle by the end of May.
Independent MP of Mayo Rebekha Sharkie spoke with residents who avoid going to GP clinics or go straight to the emergency department. It costs $40.

“There are a lot of people who don’t have $40 in their pocket,” she said. “It really worries me.”

Independent Rep. Rebecca Sharkey.

Independent MP Rebekha Sharkie says some residents of her voters go straight to the emergency department because they don’t have GPs for consolidated billing. sauce: AAP

“We need to get back to a path where people, especially those on low incomes, those with children and those on pensions, can collectively claim.”

Sharkey wrote to Treasury Secretary Jim Chalmers demanding that Medicare reform be prioritized in the federal budget due in May.

SBS News has reached out to Fairfax Rep. Ted O’Brien for comment. Franklin Rep. Julie Collins referred to Butler’s comments to SBS News.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/just-35-per-cent-of-gp-clinics-bulk-bill-new-patients-heres-how-your-area-compares/zeiwn5er0 Australian Consolidated Billing GP Clinic: Find out how your suburb compares to the rest of the country

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