In Practice: managing practice billing

Morgan Liotta

16/12/2021 1:38:29 PM

The college has developed new resources to help members in better managing their practice’s billing.

Doctor doing accounting
New RACGP resources provide different bulk-billing options for GPs to consider via a series of case studies.

This week’s In Practice round up also includes resources on the COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme, guidance on named referrals, and upcoming education workshops
New resources for managing billing
The RACGP has developed practice billing case studies that outline possible ways for GPs to introduce mixed billing in their work.
The case studies outline billing changes and strategies such as bulk billing certain patients, bulk billing specific services, intermittent charging and charging a $10 co-payment. The scenarios are based on Level B consultation items (<20 minutes) and are examples only, intended to provide different options for GPs to consider.
A presentation recorded by members of the RACGP Expert Committee – Funding and Health System Reform (REC−FHSR) for the RACGP’s 2021 annual conference (cancelled due to COVID-19) is also now available.
The aim of the session is to encourage GPs to think about their personal expectations in terms of income, financial sustainability and work−life balance.
The case studies and video are available on the RACGP resources to help you manage your billing webpage.
Vaccine Claims Scheme resources
The COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme opened to potential claimants on 13 December.
The scheme will reimburse people who experience moderate-to-significant impact following an adverse reaction to an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
A key aim of the scheme is to reduce the risk of legal action against a healthcare practitioner who is involved in the COVID-19 vaccination program. The scheme does not prevent someone from taking action through the courts, however, it has been designed as a streamlined alternative to court proceedings.
A number of resources are now available on the Department of Health (DoH) website:

Named referrals to guide GPs
The DoH has provided quick tips on named referrals to help GPs have conversations with patients, other specialists or hospitals.
The tips cover a range of issues, including clarification that a named referral is not needed for patients to be seen in hospital outpatient clinics. Detailed advice is also provided about the differences between public and private care and the GP’s role in supporting patient decision making.
College members can access further information via the DoH website, which outlines when Medicare benefits can be claimed for services provided to hospital patients, or refer to the frequently asked questions.
Know the red flags of SMA
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic neuromuscular disorder characterised by progressive muscle weakness and wasting due to the degeneration of motor neurons.
SMA is the leading genetic-related cause of death for infants under two years. While there is no known cure for SMA, recent advances in therapy mean that it is treatable. Early referral and diagnosis is key, as timely treatment may delay disease progression and improve outcomes.
The RACGP is offering accredited training on SMA and other paediatric neuromuscular disorders to help upskill GPs in recognising the warning signs and when to refer to a specialist.
Further information and access to training is available online.
Participate in general practice research
The RACGP supports GPs to undertake research that contributes to the knowledge base of the profession. 
To assist with this, the college has created a new general practice research project noticeboard, outlining the many opportunities available for members to participate in national research projects and surveys.
Information about current projects, as well as new projects added regularly, is available on the noticeboard.
Information for members wishing to submit their own research project is also available on the RACGP website.
Social media course for GPs
A partnership with RACGP Plus and Marketing Practices, the Social Media Marketing Essentials Course provides GPs with comprehensive knowledge on the successful use of social media to communicate effectively with patients.
The course, available on an app, is designed for GPs, practice owners and their teams to learn how to use social media to position themselves as healthcare leaders within the local community.
The course includes:
  • six training modules with several lessons per module delivered over eight weeks
  • weekly group coaching calls via Zoom to ask questions, brainstorm ideas, and seek advice
  • worksheets and templates, including a social media content planner
  • a private Facebook group to ask questions, share wins and stay connected.
More information about the course is available on the RACGP Plus webpage.
Feedback on mental health training and education
The General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) is inviting GPs to complete a short survey on mental health training and education.
Feedback collected from the survey will guide the GPMHSC to understand preferences in the way training and education is delivered, as well as the requirements for continuing professional development (CPD) in mental health.
The information from the survey will also help improve the Mental health training standards 2020–22: A guide for general practitioners for the 2023–25 CPD triennium.

The short survey can be completed online.
Practice Owners Masterclass: 2022 Roadshow
Designed to help general practice owners develop a successful business and strategic plan for their practice, each Practice Owners Masterclass is built around an existing clinic case study of two GP owners.
With a walk-through of the development of a successful business and strategic plan, participants will learn more about:
  • developing a business and strategic plan
  • accounting and financials
  • getting the best out of practice staff
  • patients and services
  • doctor payments.
The one-day interactive and educational workshop is a CPD Accredited Activity, eligible for 40 CPD points.
Dates and registration for the 2022 series are available on the RACGP website.
Certificate of Primary Care Dermatology
Are your dermatology skills only skin deep? The RACGP’s Certificate of Primary Care Dermatology has been developed to help GPs and GPs in training increase their expertise and confidence when presented with dermatological cases in their practice.
Registration for the certificate can be done at any time of the year and completed at participants’ own pace within three years. The certificate consists of 25 online courses, a two-day workshop and a three-day clinical experience.   
Participants can sign up per course or enrol for the whole certificate in advance – saving $1125 on course fees. Register online.
The next workshop is scheduled for Brisbane in March 2022. More information and the complete workshop schedule is available on the RACGP website.
The RACGP’s Certificate of Primary Care Dermatology is supported by Sonic Healthcare.
John Murtagh Library closure
The RACGP’s library will be closed from 5.00 pm, Wednesday 22 December 2021 to 9.00 am (AEDT), Wednesday 5 January 2022.
Members are reminded to submit requests for articles and searches before the holiday closure.
For guidance on accessing the library’s resources, members can email, call 03 8699 0519, or
complete the library’s online form.
The RACGP John Murtagh Library’s e-books, databases and other resources can be accessed anytime online.
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