$40 Booking Fee for Medical Centre

I visited a medical centre near my home many times. Internet booking for the centre was not working somehow so I rang to book. This time they asked me $40 booking fee to see a doctor face to face. I never pay booking fee to any medical centre before. I gave up to book. Is anyone pay booking fee for a medical centre?

Comments

  • +6

    No

  • +2

    Add a poll

    • +1

      what! u didnt ask for a ms paint drawing?
      hand back your ozbargain membership please

  • +2

    Did you ask why the $40 booking fee was introduced as it was not required previously?

    I would find another medical centre.

    • They asked me when I visited there and see the doctor face to face in the last 12 month. I answered I cannot remember due to the pandemic. And they said as I didn't do it for a year I have to pay $40 to book. Still I cannot understand so that will be my last contact to the medical centre.

      • +1

        What a rip off.

        Good on you for moving to another medical centre.

        • +1

          Yeah… they have all my record but as they will charge me $40 for every booking I will find other medical clinic.

          • +4

            @TigerWoops: Once you find a new medical centre, you can write to the old centre, and ask them to transfer all your records to the new centre. I think you fill out a form , and pay a nominal fee for their work.

            • @Belistic: My old medical centre informed me it would cost 'only a nominal fee of $80' to provide my medical records when I moved out of the area.
              The receptionist took all of two minutes to print them out so that I could see what detail was in them - let's just say my doctor's record keeping was less than complete and accurate.
              Had a discussion with the Practice Manager and they agreed to transfer my pretty inaccurate records to my new doctor for no charge.
              Booked a long appointment with the new doctor and talked through my history - he was very unimpressed with the information supplied by the other centre.

              • +1

                @Grunntt: If only we had some kind of national database that would allow you to automatically access your records with any doctor.
                Shits me that there is all this debate about privacy, but in practice no doctor seems to actually load anything onto the system.

                • +1

                  @md333: Why a national DB over a copy that should be provided to patient on request or for the session? We get printed records from mechanics, IT support, etc.

                  I'm told its to trap people and that the admin fee to print records is the exit fee. All legal to charge for a copy of your own data. Maybe threaten to report to medicare?

                  It's even worse with optometrists who will refuse to provide it. I had to threaten reporting them to Medicare for them to literally write down some numbers from the screen in front of them. There's definitely no bargains with glasses in their stores.

                  • @orangetrain: I'm being sarcastic, the big advantage of the national database is it is already there and setup at great cost to taxpayers ( https://www.myhealthrecord.gov.au/ ), but useless because doctors don't use it. I suspect because they get money from you having to come back to them to get records.

                    • @md333: have you actually used MHR? it's a very clunky system, and the important things you need are rarely automatically uploaded, and to upload anything takes significant administrative time. there are many privacy laws about when you are actually allowed to access MHR and the things you may need like specialist letters and op reports are not uploadable

  • +1

    no

  • +2

    Is anyone pay booking fee for a medical centre?

    Is the $40 booking fee put towards the final bill at the end? It could be like a non-refundable 'deposit' paid at the time of booking in case you don't show up at appointment time.

    I pay $90 each time I see the doctor (GP) face-to-face and get about $35 back from Medicare.

    • +2

      I would assume the booking fee is exactly that. In which case, it's arguably reasonable.

      I certainly would not be paying a booking fee on top of the consultation fee.

      I pay $90 each time I see the doctor (GP) face-to-face and get about $35 back from Medicare.

      We must see the same doctor!

      • I certainly would not be paying a booking fee on top of the consultation fee.

        Yeh, it wouldn't make sense to charge another fee especially if their online booking is down.

        We must see the same doctor!

        If you were in Melbourne, I might've thought so too! But since we're in different cities.. Maybe $90 is the amount they agreed at the "National GP convention"! lol!

    • What a rort. I waited nearly an hour because a GP was running late in the past. Receptionist repeatedly said to wait a couple more minutes as they're busy with earlier patients. Turns out they were late returning from lunch as they came through the front door from the cafe next door.

      I'm happy for this $40 deposit if they will give people $40 if the GP is more than 15 minutes late. It's fair.

      • +1

        Turns out they were late returning from lunch as they came through the front door from the cafe next door.

        My doctor is usually 20-30 minutes late too. I don't like waiting around either, but sometimes unexpected medical emergencies come up and they miss their breaks or whatever and they have to take it later than usual. Who knows what happened earlier? It sounds like I'm making excuses for them and I probably am. The other option is.. . oh wait, we don't have many options! lol

        • +1

          I don't like waiting around either, but sometimes unexpected medical emergencies come up

          I don't disagree, but my VERY strong suspicion is simply that the doctors get overbooked/the standard 15 minute consultation time is too short.

          There are problems on both sides of the supply/demand curve here. In private practice a 15 minute consult is ~$90 or the 30 minute is ~$140. Patients don't want to spend $140 if the mob down the road charges them $90 … and the doctors would rather do 4 x $90 an hour, rather than 2 x $140. Cancellations/no shows exacerbate this problem … do you want to lose $90 or $140?

          My personal take then is that for routine appointments, I always take either the very first appointment of the day (although this have proven not to be foolproof), or the very last and ring ahead to see how they're tracking.

          • @Seraphin7:

            My personal take then is that for routine appointments, I always take either the very first appointment of the day

            That's what I try to do too. But my doctor still runs late!

            I'm lucky though. The receptionists there know I live upstairs (yes, I'm a regular) and they'll tell me if he's running late and i go back upstairs until the person in line before me goes in. Then I'll come back down.

      • I have worked in a gp clinic before ( on elective resident term )

        On this rotation most of the time if running late it was for mental health reasons eg domestic violence, suicidal patient etc

        Occasionally chest pain patient, once cpr and another time anaphylaxis to an antibiotic

        I don't think 15 minutes is enough considering in ed each of those things would take hours to manage.

        As s note some oldies can take 5 minutes just to get in and out of the room.

        I would expect your gp to take more than 15 minutes with you if you are unwell.

        On the other hand if they are late every time it is a booking problem

        • I don't mind waiting occasionally and I try to be early for appointments. I am guilty of being late too.

          But I am pointing out that I think it's unfair to slap a $40 deposit or cancellation fee for every patient for lateness/cancellation when the patient gets nothing if the GP is late/cancels themselves.

          The GP has to work with 15 minute slots? The patients have to fit GP visits and have to factor in GP lateness into their schedule too. Sometimes costing patients more than $40.

          • @orangetrain: I agree with the notion of two way capitalism.

          • @orangetrain: there are private billing GPs who has longer appointments who can afford to run more on time. so it's up to you to gauge how much your time is worth

    • I pay the same at my GP, I think private practice is a standard rate for the 15min . They will charge you for the consult in a no-show, so if you haven't been in 12 months you're probably high risk as a no-show vs someone that is a regular patient. The booking fee is probably a one off, maybe even deductable from the consult.

  • +8

    Imagine not just asking what the fee is for, while you are literally on the phone talking to the person who could give you an answer.

    • 'Tis the OzB way.

  • Yes.

  • +1

    sounds like a deposit for a booking in case you no show, which is common place with service industries..restaurants does this too. as above perhaps you should have clarified that with the receptionist whilst you were literally talking to them about the fee, but no, that'd be too logical

    • I never do no-show. In the online booking a statement says that there will be no-show charge but not this case. She called it "Booking Fee" not "No Show Fee"

      • +1

        Well you can't call something a "no show" fee if you haven't yet not showed. As above … one or two direct questions at the time would have saved all sorts of problems for you.

  • Booking fee is something new I've not seen in many medical centres before. Seems quite extreme and sounds like no shows is a frequent issue for them.

    • +1

      depends on the type of set up. common with psychologist appointments where if you don't show that's an hr block they are sitting there twiddling their thumbs with lost income. a busy bulk billing practice wouldn't be impacted by a few no shows

      • +1

        I work with ~100 practices and none of them have a booking fee. Hence why it's unusual for me to see a booking fee upfront. Getting billed if you repeatedly don't show is another matter.

        • there's not many, but i wouldn't say it's unusual. i know quite a few that does. like i said, it depends on the set up

          • @lk0811: So you know a few that charge a booking fee upfront?

            • @Clear: yes, mostly private billing clinics, with 20min appt schedules. it is harder as it's not as expected in GP setting. more common in specialist/psychologist practices

              • @lk0811: That's really interesting. $40 really adds up if it's not a bulk billing practice. Makes it far less affordable for many people.

  • +1

    Agree to the fee and advise them you have a $40 call out fee to attend your appointment.

    • -1

      Yeah GPs shouldn't start charging as much as tradies, they sit on their bums all day

  • no bulk billing ?

    • Bulk billing of course. I am an existing patient and never do no show. Until then no booking fee and no pay to see a GP.

      • How does that work but, if they bulk bill do they refund you the fee after they see you? In which case they are actually losing money for each booking due to administrative costs, they must have a big issue with drug seekers or no shows if thats the case

        • Booking Fee is not refundable as they didn't mention about refund. It just is a charge for booking.

          • +1

            @TigerWoops: Did you ask..? They either bulk bill or they don't, they can't charge you and still bulk bill

  • -2

    Specialist maybe, GP no way

  • +1

    I've seen it before, and when asked about it they responded that it was a measure to stop people making 1-off appointments in the hopes of getting certain drug prescriptions.
    Although that fee was $80 and it was probably 9 years ago. It was only for the first appointment, and full bulk billing otherwise.

    I decided not to make an appointment with them.

    • My partner works in a clinic and they have this fee. What you have stated is correct, its to stop those who come in just for the drug prescriptions.

      • All clinics should have access to their state's Real Time Prescription Monitoring website. An excellent way of seeing who is hopping around practices for scripts. For many high risk medicines it's a requirement to check before prescribing in some states.

        Edit: I see that you're in NSW. Only recently introduced there so I wouldn't be surprised if the clinic doesn't have it set up yet.

        • It's up but not accessable yet

          • +1

            @lk0811: It'll be good when it comes. Safescript VIC integrates directly with the clinical software so Safescript NSW should too.

  • Some online booking programs charge medical practices Over 30 dollars for the initial booking.

    Since the Medicare rebate for an item 23 is around 35 dollars it doesn't make sense to effectively make 5 bucks for a consult.

    An item 91891 can only be booked if seen in the past 12 months I suppose to stop pop up gp apps like the chemist warehouse one accessing Medicare for low value consults.

    Either way, be grateful that your gp values tjemself so badly that they charge less than a plumber, lawyer, accountant, vet, pharmacist etc.

    • What services do those two item numbers mean?

      • regular consult. one face to face, the other via telehealth

    • +1

      be grateful that your gp values tjemself so badly that they charge less than a plumber, lawyer, accountant, vet, pharmacist etc.

      or be grateful that they are not like my past GP - works in a bulkbilling medical centre but will not bulkbill - charges $70 for a 10 minute appointment.
      Most recently increased his fees the week before his brand new Audi Q7 was delivered (he also proudly informed me that he also replaced both his wife and his daughter's cars with Audis at the same time).
      All other doctors in the centre bulkbill but, for some reason, this one doctor seems to believe he is so much more valuable than the rest of them.

      • Like every private contractor in the world, "they'll charge what they think they're worth and hopefully they're worth what they charge". Considering its supply and demand and the fact he's surviving with this fee structure in an otherwise bulk billing service where patients have a choice, the statement might be true for him, or at least according to his other patients.

        If you don't think so, then just book a bulk billing GP.

        • I have been seen by a couple of the bulkbilling doctors there and he is definitely not worth what he charges.
          Talking with the receptionists there it is clear his numbers have been dropping fairly dramatically - I asked the specific doctor about it and he responded that he is in the final stages of his working life and has decided that he can manage on reduced numbers at a higher rate now so he isn't too concerned.
          I moved out of the area so won't be going there anymore so no impact on me at all.

          My post was in response to the one above about gps valueing themselves badly. My response was to highlight the price you pay has nothing to do with value or ability, rather it comes down to self-image/self-importance or greed.

          • +1

            @Grunntt: I bet you have fun getting a quote from any tradie around.

            All greedy.

            I guess they all did 9 years of training in a course /profession that is extremely competitive.

            • -1

              @mdavant:

              I guess they all did 9 years of training in a course /profession that is extremely competitive.

              Not too sure about the 'extremely competitive' part of that.
              They belong to a professional association/lobbying group that is very effective at keeping their numbers restricted - competition is not part of their business model.
              If you were referring to the access to their courses being competitive I would also disagree on that to a large extent - this based on being married to someone who actually teaches a number of their required subjects (and listening to the comments that are made whilst marking their attempts at exams).

              • @Grunntt: Competitive in getting into the profession.

                Your understanding of entry to medicine is quite frankly wrong, but admission into certain programs can be a little incestual.

                Well my evidence is getting in, counselling many people on how to get in. Talking to many people who struggled to get in. Looking at the entry requirements and looking at forums where people are going for advice on how to get in.

                The anticompetitive nature of some specialities annoys me too.

              • @Grunntt: that justification took so many turns i've forgotten what we are talking about

                • @lk0811: Have to agree that $40 booking fee drove down a winding rabbit hole of unrelated issues. Sorry guys.

    • Some online booking programs charge medical practices Over 30 dollars for the initial booking.

      What one would that be? I find most providers are using Hotdoc, especially after what happened with HealthEngine. Costs $75 per practitioner/month ‚Äčex GST so if you're paying over $30 per appointment then you're seriously getting ripped off.

      • HE does this for new patients, hotdoc has a different fee structure (usually cheaper)

        • So it's not the booking software. Rather the practice charging a fee on-top like in the OP.

          • @Clear: Oh I realise HE as in HealthEngine. I'm surprised practices are still using the product after what they did. Maybe it's a Medical Director Clinical site now that MD is officially integrated with HE.

  • Internet booking for the centre was not working somehow so I rang to book

    Internet booking to see face to face or over the phone?

  • Dr Google seems pretty cheap. No wait times, can get multiple opinions, self service, free.

    • comes with free anxiety and an obligatory "could be cancer" diagnosis. no indemnity insurance either for when you end up in hospital due to mis/delayed diagnosis

  • +1

    Report them… who charges fro you to book an appointment… no body

    • i don't know, i just booked a restaurant for dinner and had to pay pre-authorisation where they charge you if you cancel within 48hrs

    • I just paid to have a plumber come around.

    • Unfortunately some people seem to be confused about the difference with having to pay to book an appointment and having to pay if you miss an appointment. Obviously the former shouldn't be happening.

    • Report them for what? As long as they're clear about what it is and the conditions, then there's no issues with it.

  • One of the 15+ medical centres within a km of my place (there's so many!) charges a first-time, one-off fee of $30 to see a doctor. I've never been there but none of the others seem to.

  • +1

    I don't know where you're based, but there are plenty of bulk billing doctors all around, even in Sydney's most expensive pockets like Bondi.

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