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Topic # 154295 23-Oct-2014 16:27
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My wife just got charged $22 by our medical centre when she asked for a prescription for some eczema creams for our 3 year old. She went in and said 'I need these creams, x, y and z for our daughter'. A doctor there has prescribed them for her before. They said there would be a $22 charge for a prescription. She went to see the nurse who said 'here, I'll do it'. But we still get slapped with the $22 fee. So, my wife asks if there would be a charge for her to take our daughter to see a doctor and get a prescription. No, because doctors visits and prescriptions are free for under 5's. Ok, can I see a doctor then please. No, there are no appointments available until Monday. The reception ladies won't back down. The manager doesn't back down - even when confronted with the logic - a free doctor's visit (costing them time and money) vs. a prescription via the nurse.

The doctors visit would have been free, but the "nurse's visit" was not. Getting the creams from the pharmany will be free, but the issuing of the prescription from a non-doctor was not.

I pay for my prescriptions because I am not entitled to a free doctor's visit. Why waste a doctor's time when the nurse is much cheaper and can issue the prescription. This clearly seems to be a matter of policy at the medical centre. So, my question is, have they acted lawfully? Can they charge for the prescription when doctors visits and prescriptions are free for under 5's? The nurse is not a doctor, but can they charge to get a prescription from one when the patient has certain entitlements? I understand that the "and prescriptions" part refers to the actual charge at the pharmacy, but does the law around this extend to charging for the service of writing a prescription?

Is this lawful, is this reasonable?

Thoughts?

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  Reply # 1160813 23-Oct-2014 16:46
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all comes down to money, even though it's free to you the surgery gets paid by the government for each visit but it probably not as much as they get for a prescription so thats why you had to make an appointment . The same things happen at our surgery where a visit is the same as a prescription, so i use the drop in clinic now and see a doctor if i want my script filled. If i have to pay $22 then i will get my moneys worth.




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  Reply # 1160814 23-Oct-2014 16:46
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I suspect you will find that the doctor receives funding based on the number of under 5's they see, whether bulk or specific to the number seen.  This means if they allowed what you wanted, their funding stream would be reduced, requiring them to charge more.  A repeat prescription is not considered a visit.

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  Reply # 1160825 23-Oct-2014 16:51
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Did your wife have a (repeat?) prescription for the creams? Are they prescription only?

I don't think the idea is that all your pharmacy requirements are free, is it?

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  Reply # 1160832 23-Oct-2014 17:09
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Doctors are government funded for under 5's, pharmacists (who can prescribe certain medications if I recall correctly) are not.

Seems silly I know, but that's just how it is.  Just go to a drop-in doctor if you can't see your own. 






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  Reply # 1160842 23-Oct-2014 17:37
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wow such crazy (non) logic. yes unfortunately the average person needs to know the system to get the best deals. next time I suggest

- don't wait till you need something last minute, make doctor appointment to get prescription, esp at 5 yrs 11 mths!
- when you know you need to pay for a prescription make sure you get 3 mths supply
- if the pharmacy charges you lots because something isn't funded ask for a fully funded one where available

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  Reply # 1160886 23-Oct-2014 18:39
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We recently got charged $25 for our doctor to fax a prescription to our local pharmacy. The kicker was that the doctor had mucked up the original prescription in the first place!

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  Reply # 1160895 23-Oct-2014 18:54
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vexxxboy: even though it's free to you the surgery gets paid by the government for each visit


This. They don't get a government subsidy for a non-appointment, such as a prescription. So you were, in fact, asking them to not get paid to do it, instead of getting paid to do it. It would make some sense for the funding to cover this type of situation, but unfortunately it doesn't, and partially this is probably to reduce the probability of incorrect prescriptions being issued.




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  Reply # 1160916 23-Oct-2014 19:24
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Unfortunately, General Practices seem to have developed a habit of maximising their ability to charge as much as possible.  I know they have staff, and rent, and insurances and so on, but really, sometimes it's just robbery as far as I'm concerned.

Case in point; 

I'm a type 1 diabetic and need insulin multiple times a day.  I've been diabetic for almost 20 years.  I manage my own dosing.  I control my diabetes well.  I have good blood glucose levels.

I haven't suddenly become not-diabetic.

I haven't suddenly changed my requirements.

There has not suddenly been a major development in diabetes treatment.

No doctor has any clue about what my insulin needs are, nor are they in any position to dispute what my needs are, if I say I need 30 units a day of X, then I need 30 units a day of X, end of story, especially if my blood work and records show I exhibit good control.

Yet every 3 months, we have to go through this little dance.  Make an appointment, take an hour out of my day (45 minutes of which is waiting room, why can't they EVER be on time), possibly get bloods taken, pay the onerous fees (doctor, and phlebotomy often as not), stand around another 5 minutes waiting for the "ugh, do I really have to stop what I'm doing to serve you now" receptionists just to pay the bill.

Even if I wrangle a one-off 3-month repeat out of them on the phone, the bill isn't much cheaper, and 90% of the time they screw it up, necessitating me to go and get it fixed (or my excellent and friendly pharmacists to notice the error when it's faxed through and fix it themselves, after 20 years they know what I need almost as well as I do).

DAMMIT Pharmac, just give me a "Insulin User, Self Control" card and let me get what I need from my pharmacist when I need it within some certain limit.






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  Reply # 1161005 23-Oct-2014 21:21
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Agree, that is pretty pathetic.

Slightly off topic, I don't think the system really works to get to root cause of such issues (particularly something like this)
Overworked Drs with a 15min slot (allow 5min for paperwork) are unlikely to have the time or inclination to really try to understand the issue.
If for example, the cause was a food allergy/s, the cream may just treat the sympton and you won't be removing the trigger.

Health is a little like IT - getting to root cause should be the goal.

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  Reply # 1161076 23-Oct-2014 22:58
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sleemanj: Unfortunately, General Practices seem to have developed a habit of maximising their ability to charge as much as possible.  I know they have staff, and rent, and insurances and so on, but really, sometimes it's just robbery as far as I'm concerned.

Case in point; 

I'm a type 1 diabetic and need insulin multiple times a day.  I've been diabetic for almost 20 years.  I manage my own dosing.  I control my diabetes well.  I have good blood glucose levels.

I haven't suddenly become not-diabetic.

I haven't suddenly changed my requirements.

There has not suddenly been a major development in diabetes treatment.

No doctor has any clue about what my insulin needs are, nor are they in any position to dispute what my needs are, if I say I need 30 units a day of X, then I need 30 units a day of X, end of story, especially if my blood work and records show I exhibit good control.

Yet every 3 months, we have to go through this little dance.  Make an appointment, take an hour out of my day (45 minutes of which is waiting room, why can't they EVER be on time), possibly get bloods taken, pay the onerous fees (doctor, and phlebotomy often as not), stand around another 5 minutes waiting for the "ugh, do I really have to stop what I'm doing to serve you now" receptionists just to pay the bill.

Even if I wrangle a one-off 3-month repeat out of them on the phone, the bill isn't much cheaper, and 90% of the time they screw it up, necessitating me to go and get it fixed (or my excellent and friendly pharmacists to notice the error when it's faxed through and fix it themselves, after 20 years they know what I need almost as well as I do).

DAMMIT Pharmac, just give me a "Insulin User, Self Control" card and let me get what I need from my pharmacist when I need it within some certain limit.




i feel for you. is there a diabetes nurse you can feedback to?

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  Reply # 1161174 24-Oct-2014 09:27
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Raise the issues with and email to your local MP's. That's the only way things are going to change.

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  Reply # 1161386 24-Oct-2014 14:12
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wodger: My wife just got charged $22 by our medical centre when she asked for a prescription for some eczema creams for our 3 year old. She went in and said 'I need these creams, x, y and z for our daughter'. A doctor there has prescribed them for her before. They said there would be a $22 charge for a prescription. She went to see the nurse who said 'here, I'll do it'. But we still get slapped with the $22 fee. So, my wife asks if there would be a charge for her to take our daughter to see a doctor and get a prescription. No, because doctors visits and prescriptions are free for under 5's. Ok, can I see a doctor then please. No, there are no appointments available until Monday. The reception ladies won't back down. The manager doesn't back down - even when confronted with the logic - a free doctor's visit (costing them time and money) vs. a prescription via the nurse.

The doctors visit would have been free, but the "nurse's visit" was not. Getting the creams from the pharmany will be free, but the issuing of the prescription from a non-doctor was not.

I pay for my prescriptions because I am not entitled to a free doctor's visit. Why waste a doctor's time when the nurse is much cheaper and can issue the prescription. This clearly seems to be a matter of policy at the medical centre. So, my question is, have they acted lawfully? Can they charge for the prescription when doctors visits and prescriptions are free for under 5's? The nurse is not a doctor, but can they charge to get a prescription from one when the patient has certain entitlements? I understand that the "and prescriptions" part refers to the actual charge at the pharmacy, but does the law around this extend to charging for the service of writing a prescription?

Is this lawful, is this reasonable?

Thoughts?


I would say it illogical certainly.

Mind you I still have not really adjusted to being charged at all for repeats....





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  Reply # 1161393 24-Oct-2014 14:16
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sleemanj: Unfortunately, General Practices seem to have developed a habit of maximising their ability to charge as much as possible.  I know they have staff, and rent, and insurances and so on, but really, sometimes it's just robbery as far as I'm concerned.

Case in point; 

I'm a type 1 diabetic and need insulin multiple times a day.  I've been diabetic for almost 20 years.  I manage my own dosing.  I control my diabetes well.  I have good blood glucose levels.

I haven't suddenly become not-diabetic.

I haven't suddenly changed my requirements.

There has not suddenly been a major development in diabetes treatment.

No doctor has any clue about what my insulin needs are, nor are they in any position to dispute what my needs are, if I say I need 30 units a day of X, then I need 30 units a day of X, end of story, especially if my blood work and records show I exhibit good control.

Yet every 3 months, we have to go through this little dance.  Make an appointment, take an hour out of my day (45 minutes of which is waiting room, why can't they EVER be on time), possibly get bloods taken, pay the onerous fees (doctor, and phlebotomy often as not), stand around another 5 minutes waiting for the "ugh, do I really have to stop what I'm doing to serve you now" receptionists just to pay the bill.

Even if I wrangle a one-off 3-month repeat out of them on the phone, the bill isn't much cheaper, and 90% of the time they screw it up, necessitating me to go and get it fixed (or my excellent and friendly pharmacists to notice the error when it's faxed through and fix it themselves, after 20 years they know what I need almost as well as I do).

DAMMIT Pharmac, just give me a "Insulin User, Self Control" card and let me get what I need from my pharmacist when I need it within some certain limit.




I have the same thing with regard to various drugs I have on prescription following heart surgery. I will need them forever. Yet one of them they will only give me a month at a time because it is on some list somewhere. I asked why and they told me it was expensive and the doctor might take me off it, leaving some wasted pills. I've only been on it twice a day since October 2006 after all....!!

Also eventually I have enough to get the card that gives you free prescriptions. I think it works out at around $100 worth of prescription charges. Can I just give you $100 at the beginning of the year and be done with it, I asked. No.





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