BENDIGO general practitioners will continue to receive the full rural bulk billing incentive, after fears changes could force doctors to charge patients out of pocket.
Health professionals voiced concerns in early June that a change to which areas are classified as rural could mean the bulk billing incentives were cut.
The Department of Health published a fact sheet on June 28, detailing that areas such as Bendigo - classed as a level 2 area in the incoming model - would continue to receive the full rebate for bulk billing consultations.
Eaglehawk doctor Tali Barrett welcomed the news saying she was delighted Bendigo doctors would receive the $9.50 per patient bulk billing rebate.
On June 4, Dr Barrett said she was concerned a drop to the rebate could stop Bendigo practices bulk billing.
Dr Barrett said a change to Bendigo's geographic classification from January 1, 2020 would mean the rebate would be paid at a lower rate - $6.30 per patient, rather than $9.50.
This could cut clinics' income by $400 per full-time GP each week, putting untenable strain on their finances, Dr Barrett said.
A Department of Health factsheet published in late June shows general practitioners will continue to receive $9.50 per bulk billed consultation.
"If it had gone ahead if the reduction had gone ahead, it would have had a significant impact on general practice's affordability," Dr Barrett said.
"It's good news that that's not going to happen, I'm delighted."
Bendigo was made an area of distribution priority for doctors on July 1, which means practices can now recruit doctors from overseas.
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