Issue 08 - Medical & Allied Health Services
The future profitability of GP practices is at stake with the Medicare freeze extended to 2020. This Government decision is an acute reminder of how vulnerable the business of general practice is when it is dependent on Medicare. General practices that take charge of their own direction and create future-proof strategies will pave the way for business viability and financial independence.
The Government have made it clear that they have no intention of lifting the freeze, and now as we enter the second quarter of the financial year it is likely practices have not had time to review budgets, or even discuss the impact of the freeze at the practice level.
Medicare rebates remaining frozen for the next 4 years further exacerbates the challenge of achieving any reasonable level of profit growth. The current freeze follows the Government delaying indexation rate increases in the period from November 2013 to July 2014. Therefore by July 2020 indexation would have been frozen for 6 years, plus the 8 month delay from November 2013 to July 2014.
So what are some key strategies for responding to the Medicare Freeze?
- Establishing an annual fee review process
- Introduce co-payment fees, or increase the co-payment fees
- Decrease the bulk billing rate
- Deliver more profitable services
- Increase the capacity of the practice
- Improve the efficiency of the practice
- Develop strategies for retaining your patients
Our Medical and Allied Health Services team have designed specific financial tools and calculators that analyse and compare different models of billing for practices to view their options and take action where necessary. These tools will help the easy review of current billing practices, analyse different billing scenarios and assist to identify the best strategies to manage through the 'freeze'.
We believe in the ability to proactively address issues and these tools will help identify and improve your financial performance. If you are interested in finding out more about these tools we have developed please contact Danny Haydon or Shali Malonev or phone our office on 08 8241 8444.
Our Medical and Allied Health Services team have had the pleasure of being a part of the FUSS (Flinders Uni Surgical Society) recent Surgical Careers and Women in Surgery nights. It has been a delight to get to know the hard working FUSS Committee behind these events and also the opportunity to provide some important information about financial wellbeing to its members.
We know it is important to become financially literate at an early age. It provides those who begin to earn a healthy salary plus manage a very busy job to have some knowledge about managing their money from the start.
Looking forward to a great career, pursuing life goals and enjoying future success can have the added benefit of a good financial foundation, when beginning your career, considering a good accountant and/or adviser as part of your life team is worthwhile in those early days.
We will continue supporting FUSS in the coming years and look forward to meeting the new students, and wish those finishing this year all the best for their future.
Brentnalls SA Associate, Shali Manolev presenting to 'Women in Surgery' audience
On 31 March 2016 the Minister for Health, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, announced that the Australian Government will provide funding for Stage 1 of the establishment of Health Care Homes.
The pilot will commence as of 1 July 2017, involving around 200 Health Care Homes offering services to up to 65,000 people with chronic and complex conditions who have been assessed as being able to benefit from team based care. Health Care Homes will include general practices and Aboriginal Medical Services.
Leading up to the commencement of services, the next 10 months will involve the development of health care home design principles and the delivery of training to participating health care providers and consumers.
We congratulate Danny Haydon, our Manager, Practice Management Services on his appointment to the National Health Care Homes Implementation Advisory Group, within his capacity as National President of Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM). This Advisory Group also has four Working Groups, to support the design, development and implementation of Health Care Homes.
The membership of all the groups brings together a wide range of expertise including GPs, practice managers, nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists, consumers, carers and technical experts based on the terms of reference of the specific group.
Currently information about the implementation of Health Care Home model is available on the Department of Health's website.
We recently presented at a forum held by our affiliate CoggerGurry in Hamilton, Victoria. Medical and allied health professionals from around south-west Victoria gathered to hear our Manager, Practice Management Services, Danny Haydon introduce them to developing more financially viable services models, and ultimately, more profitable and sustainable practices.
Danny received positive feedback with those who attended having the opportunity to discuss current issues such as managing through the Medicare freeze, and strategies in which to manage into the future.
Organiser Laurie Cogger quoted in local newspaper "It's vital that we consider strategies now to ensure we are able to retain our quality medical services and highly trained health professionals in the region for the long term."**
If you are interested in holding similar sessions with your practice, or a group of practices or professional body please contact Danny at our office.
**Quote from 'Hamilton Spectator', Tuesday August 23, 2016
The MBS Review Task Force released its Interim Report on Tuesday 6 September. The Review is being led by Professor Bruce Robinson, former Dean of Sydney Medical School and chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Tasked with reviewing more than 5,700 items for potential removal or rule changes, the Task Force's Interim Report details the process of consultations, preliminary outcomes and some important discussions and caveats. Professor Robinson's cover letter with the report reiterates Health Minister Sussan Ley's statement that a Review of the MBS items is well overdue and that "Australia has reached an important juncture in the way we provide and fund health services."
The MBS Review commenced in July 2015 with the first meeting of the Taskforce and an initial round of stakeholder consultations, and will continue through to mid-2017. A second report is due out in December that is to provide recommendations to the Minister.
A copy of the Interim Report is available here.
LEADERSHIP, EMPOWER, ACTIONS, DISCOVER
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
For more information please visit www.apna.asn.au/onlinelearning
APNA Education Calendar (Events Search)