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Calculating what your services are worth will be made simpler with a new tool being developed by Optometry Australia.

Optometry Australia (formerly OAA) has designed and tested a calculator that allows members to consider an appropriate fee to charge a patient for services or procedures that are not within the scope of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

Optometry Australia clinical policy advisor Simon Hanna said the purpose of the calculator was to help members determine how to financially sustain their practice.

‘With optometric services now reaching beyond the scope of what is reimbursed by Medicare, the calculator allows members to consider an appropriate fee to charge a patient for services or procedures that fall outside those which Medicare remunerates,’ Mr Hanna said.

‘It can be used to calculate fees that incorporate either procedures—for example, lacrimal lavage, punctal plugs, or corneal foreign body removal—or services, such as corneal topography, optical coherence tomography, retinal photography and some visual field services.

‘This tool can be used to assist members in determining an appropriate fee level when introducing new procedures and services into practice as well as checking whether their current fee levels are gearing them towards a sustainable financial future,’ he said.

The calculator will allow members to determine an appropriate fee setting by adjusting variables including the time taken to perform any service or procedure, the loan amount on equipment purchased, interest rate, payment frequency, relevant business costs such as rent or electricity, and relevant consumables such as lavage needles.

‘It can be used by both single and multiple practitioner practices by aggregating expected patient numbers per week in practices that have more than one optometrist consulting at any one time,’ Mr Hanna said.

The calculator will soon be available to members on the Optometry Australia website.

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