In This Issue...

Considered Health

Issue 07 - Medical & Allied Health Services

"Icebreaker" - Managing the Medicare Freeze

Many practices will begin to see the real impact of the Medicare indexation freeze as the 15/16 EOFY draws to a close. It is an acute reminder that Government decisions create vulnerability within the business of general practice when it is dependent on Medicare. Reliance on Medicare is not sustainable, regardless of whether the freeze is lifted. Taking charge of your direction and ensuring that the fundamentals of your business model are right can ease the impact and pave the way for increased financial independence.

Essentially the landscape before us with the MBS Review and frozen indexation on Fees will continue to demand our attention. As the saying goes "let go of things you cannot change, and focus on the things you can", there is opportunity to "break this ice age" and find new potential within your business model.

Developing strategies to manage through these challenges could result in improved efficiencies within your business and may even highlight new profit pathways.

Reviewing existing financial models will help identify areas for refinement. Start your analysis now by asking these key questions of your business:

  • How many non-concession patients does your practice bulk bill? Accepting the bulk billing payment of $37.05 for non-concession consultations is almost a 50% discount on the 'value' of the service (AMA recommended fee $76.00).
  • What percentage of patients do you bulk bill? A strategy to focus on decreasing bulk billing to increase the proportion of fee paying patients - a mixed billing practice is a healthy model.
  • When was the last time you increased your fees? Implementing regular incremented increases to fees is a good strategy to ensure fees are covering the increasing costs in your business.
  • Have you reviewed your Fee Policy? Now is the ideal opportunity to make adjustments on your current policy.
  • What is your patient retention and growth strategy? Communicating effectively with patients about fee changes; encouraging them to access the chronic disease services that are more viable to bulk bill, are some strategies towards retaining patients attending your practice.
  • Are all Principals and management clear about your business strategies? Discuss financial modelling and business planning at up coming Practice meetings, start planning for the future now.

Times of change, whether positive or negative, can be the catalyst to review current business strategies, models and policy.

Our team is able to assist you with a full business analysis and helpful advice on specific areas such as financial objectives of your practice; a structured process to determine fee increases; budgeting or discussing strategies for decreasing bulk billing and increasing practice efficiency. Our Medical and Allied Health Services division has developed specific tools and resources to help your general practice business "thaw" the freeze.

For more information please contact Danny Haydon via email or phone our office on 08 8241 8444.


The Benefits of Strategic Planning

Medical and allied health practices can no longer afford to be reactive to the external influences that dictate how they function. They will need to think and act strategically to remain viable in these times of constant change and uncertainty within the health industry.

Thinking strategically means developing a clear and common understanding of where the practice is heading and a strategy on how to get there. The process of strategic planning involves stepping back from the business of providing healthcare and setting aside time to think and plan for the future of the business.

Strategic planning is considered a critical and fundamental business discipline for managing change and ensuring development and growth. Surprisingly very few medical and allied health practices appreciate the benefit of strategic planning. Those that do invest in this critical discipline realise significant rewards.

The benefits of strategic planning to your business include:

  • Focusses attention on the common vision and purpose.
  • Reduces distractions caused by minor differences of opinion.
  • Provides a platform for effective decision making.
  • Reduces you vulnerability to external influences in the industry.
  • Enables your practice to be proactively managed.
  • Provides a clear focus for the investment of effort and resources. 
  • Increases productivity because effort is steered in the same direction.
  • Builds stronger teams and the buy-in of people involved in the process.
  • Communicates goals and objectives to key stakeholders.

Where there is no clear understanding of vision, purpose and strategy it is difficult to transform into a proactively managed business and create your preferred future. A strategic plan will provide the blue print for the proactive and progressive management that is required to deliver the future development and growth of the practice.

Brentnalls SA can facilitate a process to draw together your practice's collective goals, aspirations, priorities and ideas, and create a strategic plan to help keep you on track and focused on the future.

Our Medical and Allied Health Services team are available to discuss how you may implement a strategic planning process for your practice. Information regarding all our services can be viewed on our website here.


Supporting Flinders University Surgical Society

We are pleased to announce our support of the Flinders University Surgical Society (FUSS) in becoming one of their new sponsors.

FUSS is a not-for-profit student run organisation dedicated to promoting surgery as a career.

We will be supporting their upcoming events, Women in Surgery and Surgical Careers Night. Representatives from our Medical and Allied Health Services team will be attending the evenings providing presentations about financial well-being and detailing key information in keeping abreast of superannuation changes.

The team at Brentnalls SA will help FUSS and their members succeed and want to ensure their path to success is a smooth one. We acknowledge the hard work and dedication it takes by people who undertake a career in medicine, and therefore having an expert team in areas such as finance management and wealth creation around them is important to achieve their personal goals.


"Good to know" from 1 July 2016

Keeping abreast of many changes across the health system can be a challenge, we thought to remind you of some key ones to help you and your patients navigate:

  • Changes to National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS): community pharmacies to hold all NDSS products and not local Diabetes organisations, changes to access to Blood Glucose test strips by Type 2 diabetics not using insulin-for all the details visit Department of Health's website here.
  • The new Australian Digital Health Agency will commence . Part of its role will include managing the My Health Record project. View more details about digital health and My Health Record here.
  • The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIS) will move from trial to a national scheme roll out from 1 July 2016. To support the national roll out of the NDIS a new Participant Portal, called 'myplace' will be introduced. For more information visit here.
  • The new Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme will improve access to public dental services from 1 July 2016 (subject to the passage of legislation). Eligible customers and dental providers will be sent a letter about the changes from the old child dental benefits scheme to the new. View more details here.



Early bird registrations are now open for the AAPM 2016 National Conference being held in Melbourne, 18-21 October. The program offers a range of contemporary management and leadership topics for all medical and health industry practice managers.

Check out the conference website here



Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association

For more information please visit

APNA Education Calendar (Events Search)




The information provided in this newsletter does not constitute advice. The information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be used, relied upon, or treated as a substitute for specific professional advice. We recommend that you contact Brentnalls SA before making any decision to discuss your particular requirements or circumstances. Brentnalls is not a partnership or a joint venture. Instead, the business of Brentnalls SA is independently owned and operated and it is an independent member of the Brentnalls Affiliation of Accounting Firms. Individual member firms do not accept responsibility or liability for the actions or inactions of any other individual member firm.

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