In the health area BULK BILLING is taken to mean that when a service is provided, the provider of that service is then paid by a third party, usually the government, rather than by the recipient of that service.
This is no problem in Public Health care.
It is more of a problem in Private Health care.
In Private Health care the fee charged has to cover the cost of providing the service, i.e. the payment of staff, rent, utilities, equipment, drugs and dressings to name but a few, as well as giving the health practitioner an income. Total fees are called GROSS income, while total fees less overheads or costs is called NETT income which is what the health provider (dentist in this case) receives.
Often government or third party assessment of fees do not even cover a Private Health practitioner’s unavoidable costs.
So, BULK BILLING has repercussions for Private Health practitioners.
For this reason in this dental practice, we no longer see Repatriation veterans and are wary when working with health insurers and other third party schemes.
However, we do continue to see children under the Child Dental Benefit Scheme(CDBS).
For CDBS patients we bulk bill for an examination appointment.
We plan treatment, if needed.
Then, if government fees per item of treatment cover, (or nearly cover) the hourly amount – which is enough to pay our clinic costs and provide Ballarat Dentist Dr Don Anderson with an income, then the patient is BULK BILLED for this appointment. If the government fee falls short, then we charge all or part of our usual fee per item and expect co-payment from the family.
We believe this arrangement to be fair because:
1) We provide work of a high standard
2) We do not over-service i.e. find extra treatments, which are not really necessary, in order to bring our fees up to an acceptable level.
Remember, while $1000 is available per child over two years under the CDBS, payment is made only on a set fee per item of service or treatment and only on those services and as proscribed under the scheme.
We always try to be fair to our patient, to those who depend on our continuing financial viability and finally to ourselves.