By Rhiannon Riches
Medicare changes introduced on 1 January 2015 correspond to a sharp rise in Easyclaim services for the first quarter, statistics reveal.
Optometry Australia analyses Medicare figures each month, quarter and financial year.
Standards and research advisor Dr Patricia Kiely said the latest quarterly analysis had indicated two noticeable trends: a rise in Easyclaim use, and a fall in bulk-billing rates.
‘The percentage of services billed using the Medicare Easyclaim system increased from 2.0 per cent in the first quarter in 2014 to 4.9 per cent in the first quarter in 2015,’ she said.
‘There has also been a drop in the rate of bulk-billing in comparison to the corresponding quarter of the previous year, and in comparison to the last quarter of last year,’ Dr Kiely said.
Bulk-billing reduced from 97.1 per cent of services in the first quarter of 2014 to 94.1 per cent of services in the corresponding period of 2015.
In the final quarter of 2014, the rate of bulk-billing was 97 per cent. Bulk-billing data are available only by quarter and financial year.
‘These shifts in billing trends are unprecedented,’ Dr Kiely said. Dr Kiely will analyse the second quarter statistics, from April to June, later this year.
Optometry Australia offers a range of practical tips and useful resources for members including:
Look on the Optometrist Australia website > For optometrists > Billing practices and consultation fees.