Is forcing GPs to bulk-bill the MBS Covid items legal?


There is a clause for GPs using the new telehealth items: patients defined as ‘susceptible’ to COVID-19 must be bulk-billed (no exceptions). 

Is this legal? Margaret Faux, an expert on Medicare and its mysteries, offers her view.

The roll out of new COVID-19 MBS telehealth services has been welcome news in a time of crisis. That cannot be disputed.

But in a bold move, the Federal Government has made it a mandatory requirement that doctors bulk-bill those deemed susceptible to the virus.

This is still a wide patient net which captures all those with chronic illness, anyone aged 70 and over, as well as parents of children under 12 months and expectant mothers.

Some doctors remain concerned about the requirement, given the financial viability issues that currently confronts their practices.

There is also a legitimate question about the legality of what the Government has done, given doctors have always thought bulk-billing was optional.

And they are right.

Read the full article here.

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