Help for Caroline Springs residents confused about Medicare changes

Caroline Springs medical centre has volunteered to become an information resource for local residents confused about proposed changes to Medicare GP billing.

Active Medical general manager Raphael Sammut has offered the Caroline Springs clinic as a helpline for anyone, who may have questions about Medical billing changes – especially those people considering delaying seeing a doctor because they are worried about the cost.

“There has been a lot of debate over the past few months about changes to Medicare and we’re worried that people who need to see a doctor won’t because they think it’s going to cost more than previously,” Mr Sammut said.
“The good news is that changes that were going to be introduced on Monday (January 19) have been scrapped so nothing has changed.”

Last Thursday the Federal Government overturned its decision to make changes to the Medicare billing system, which would have resulted in doctors being paid less from Medicare for consultations that last between five and 10 minutes. This change may have resulted in some clinics increasing fees for short consultations. The government is still considering co-payment changes, but if they go ahead, they will be introduced in July.

“We’re very pleased that the government has decided to keep the existing fee structure for the time being, but we are worried that there are people in the community who are not going to see their GP when they’re unwell because of the perceived cost.

“But the reality is that most medical centres have not amended their existing fee structures – so the patients will experience no change.

If you’re sick, please see a doctor, and also don’t hesitate to see your GP about the health checks that keep you healthy. Instead of thinking about visiting the GP as a short in-and-out transaction, step back and look at your overall health and have a real conversation with your GP.

How’s your weight? Your emotional health? Have you had a skin check lately? Do you know what your cholesterol level is? Start actively planning for a healthier future,” Mr Sammut said.

Mr Sammut said patients that need advice about the billing changes were welcome to phone Active Medical in Caroline Springs on 9363 0954 or visit Active Medical at 228 – 232 Caroline Springs Blvd, Caroline Springs.