Fees and Accounts
This letter is designed to explain my fee structure and why it differs from the Schedule Fee recommended by the Government. I have felt this necessary after a recent large increases in indemnity premiums.
The Schedule Fee was introduced by the Federal Government as Medicare in 1973 and has increased annually by amounts usually less than one percent. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has also set a scale of fees to be used as a guide for medical practitioners around Australia. This rises with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) annually but does not account for large rises in items such as indemnity insurance. My fees are based on the AMA fees allowing for the fact that my practice is in central Sydney. There has been a significant divergence between the two fees over the years, and this results in a gap between my fee and the fee which is reimbursed by the government or private health funds.
Not unexpectedly, the cost of running a medical practice rises by a lot more that one percent per year. A recent study of practice costs across Australia estimated that it costs around $230,000 (before insurance) to run a gynaecological practice. Unfortunately NSW is now one of the most litigious states in the world and my major cost is now medical insurance. This has been rising alarmingly over the last few years. I believe the rises will continue and that further calls will be required.
I am not prepared to decrease my consultation times and have therefore had to increase my fees.
I hope this helps clarify the issue of fees for you and if there are problems with your account, I would be happy to discuss them with you.
Additional Fees/Accounts Information
Medicare and Medical Fund rebates generally do not cover the entire cost of consultations or surgery. The fees charged are generally in line with those considered fair and reasonable by the Australian Medical Association. There will therefore usually be a gap which you will be expected to pay. This is a private practice – free treatment is available at public hospital outpatients.
Payment in full at the time of consultation is required. Cheques and major credit cards are accepted.
Please ask if you have any questions about fees prior to consultations and surgery to avoid potential misunderstandings.