From next month, Timboon and District Healthcare Service will fall in line with statewide fees and charges that have been in place for over a decade in many towns.
Chief executive officer Gerry Sheehan said the State Government introduced legislation in 2005 to roll out fair and equitable fees and charges right across Victoria. He said the policy was designed to fairly collect fees from clients in order to continually grow public health care services and meet changing community expectations.
“Until now, Timboon and District Healthcare Service has chosen not to pass the fees and charges onto our clients. While our intentions were honorable in keeping costs down for clients, our board has decided it is now financially incumbent upon us to comply,” he said.
“Monies collected from client fees and charges have made it easier for other healthcare providers to expand their range of services and better safeguard their long-term futures.”
Mr Sheehan said the fees and charges policy was built on the premise that community members, who could afford to, should contribute to the cost of their care because that revenue ultimately helped more people receive more care.
“The system ensures that consumers who are asked to pay a fee for the first time, or who are charged a higher fee, are treated equally to those who may have paid fees for some time. However, for people on low incomes, the Government will continue to pay the bulk of service costs,” he said.
“Fees are based on people’s income and ability to pay. Timboon and District Healthcare Service will not exclude anyone from receiving services due to hardship.”
Mr Sheehan said eligible clients would be asked for a pension or healthcare card upon arrival for their appointment. He said their fees would be calculated and payment taken at reception – with recipients of off-site services to be invoiced at the end of each month.
“For example, the fee for a physiotherapy appointment will be $30 per visit for adults or $9.90 for concession or healthcare card holders and children under the age of 18,” he said.
“To protect people with complex needs from multiple charges though, we have set a cap of two paid fees per week, with any more than two provided free of charge.”
The new fees and charges will apply from Monday, July 3. People with concerns about their ability to pay are asked to talk with their treating health professional who can assist with advice about applying for a reduction.
For further enquiries please contact General Manager Corporate Services Nancy Johnson on 5558 6077.