Changes to the RVG billing rate for defence force personnel

Something that has come to my attention recently are the changes to billing arrangements for defence force personnel and what this means for anaesthetists.
As you are no doubt aware, the amount you get paid for a procedure may be determined by the party paying. Health funds, Government agencies, workers comp insurers all have different rules, standards and pricing.
So what are the changes to the billing arrangements for defence force personnel? Well, as we understand it, the Government used to handle accounts for defence force personnel itself and accepted accounts from anaesthetists at the RVG rate (which we understand to match the AMA recommended rate). Now they have outsourced the management of this to Medibank Health Solutions. MHS appear to have identified that the government has been paying more per unit than Medibank Private is paying per unit for its members.
As a result, Medibank and the defence force have reset the rate that anaesthetists will get paid for defence force personnel from $75 per unit to $55 per unit – a difference of $20 per unit.
My question is this: at what point (if any) should anaesthetists rally together to fight changes that have an impact on their practice?
It would be great to hear what you think of this change and what it means for you.
Do you think that there is a reluctance among anaesthetists to talk about these issues due to a fear that they will be accused of collusion? Or perhaps this isn’t a big deal for you – should doctors just accept these changes? Please leave your comments in the box below.
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts,
Ben.
Ben Dudley is the principal of Doctors Accounts Services, and is focused on removing the burden of admin from Perth’s anaesthetists. If you’re interested in how Ben can help your established private practice, then click here. If you’re new to private practice and need help, click here to see how we can easily transition you into your own practice.

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