I was looking at the proposed changes and cast my mind to how it would impact the chains of large bulk billing clinics – the owners of, and doctors at, those 6min emporiums must be in panic mode.
Let’s do some basic calculations:
Assuming a doctor at one of these clinics are currently working seven hours a day and spending at least six minutes with a patient we could assume they see around 70 patients maximum per day – if half of these are concessional patients ($37 rebate and a $7 bulkbilling incentive) the practice would generate around $2, 835 for the day. My understanding is that most of the doctors in these type of clinics get around 45-55% of this and the rest goes to the Corporate.
On 19/01/15 (just over a month away) the minimum length for a standard consultation becomes ten minutes. This would reduce the number of patients a doctor could see in this scenario down to about 42 per day. Using the same assumptions this would reduce the gross billings for the day down to about $ 1, 701 – a 40% drop in gross income !
On 01/07/15 the non-concessional rebate is reduced by $5. Using the same formula the daily gross intake for such a clinic will drop to $ 1, 596 – a 43% drop from the current income level.
Arguably one could state that this would lead to a better quality of medicine at these types of clinics but to have the largest providers of GP services in the Country’s business model changed at such a short notice cannot be a good thing for the large number of patients that they see – I believe that about one in ten GP visits currently happens in a Primary clinic so this could have a very serious impact on GP services everywhere.
The biggest question is – what will Dr Bateman and co. do now? Not only is their business model in tatters but many of their doctors will be looking at going elsewhere as their income would just not be good enough anymore.
Watch this space.