ActivHeal Outstanding Achievement in Wound Care Award = Nurse Maree!

A massive congrats to nurse Maree, the recent recipient of the ActivHeal Outstanding Achievement in Wound Care Award for 2023 for the Oceania region. Maree has been recognised for a lifelong commitment of 41 years to wound care, and for her role in educating others to ensure positive patient outcomes. Here she is pictured with Andrew Brennen of Team Medical Supplies, and with nominator nurse Aline. Blackburn Clinic is so very lucky to have Maree leading our dedicated team of nurses.

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Patient Feedback Survey Results

The General Practice located at the Carson Suite surveyed 262 patients using a Practice Accreditation and Improvement Survey (PAIS). The PAIS is a well-established patient survey widely used by general practices across Australia to gather valuable feedback from patients, which informs meaningful quality improvement within the organisation.

97% of all patient ratings about the Blackburn Clinic Carson Suite general practice were ’good, very good or excellent’.

 

There were 28 areas assessed by the survey and the results were so positive that it was difficult to choose areas that we should target for improvement.  The following two areas had the greatest room for improvement:

Seeing the doctor of choice

We scored 71 compared to the benchmark median score of 81 (our of 100).

We understand the frustration with not being able to see your doctor of choice every time. The next best option is for you to choose a “back-up doctor” from the quality group of GPs who consult from Blackburn Clinic, Blackburn Specialist Centre and the Carson Suite.  That way you can get to know a second doctor, so that when your first choice isn’t available you can still see someone familiar.

Not all GPs can work full-time. As independent medical practitioners they need to balance their time, commitments and health like everyone else. As you may appreciate, GPs have a high intensity job and need to ensure that they remain at the top of their game in order to treat patients safely and effectively. Therefore, your GP will not be available every week of the year. One advantage for Carson Suite patients is that they have access to a pool of 24 GPs across the three sites, meaning that they can still access care even when their preferred GP is not available.

Although we understand the frustration of having to choose between waiting for an appointment with your GP, or taking an earlier appointment with another GP that you don’t know, this is a situation that is unfortunately unlikely to change. Some things that you can do to manage such situations include:

  • Speak up – ask questions about your condition, the treatment options, why the GP is recommending one option more than other options.
  • Ask for an information flyer about your condition if you want more detail. This is always better than relying on “Dr Google” because the GP will use reliable sources for the information.
  • Ask the GP to read the notes that your usual GP wrote at a previous visit if you are struggling to explain your situation.
  • The 5 questions recommended by ‘Choosing Wisely Australia’ are:
    1. Do I really need this test, treatment or procedure?
    2. What are the risks?
    3. Are there simpler, safer options?
    4. What would happen if I don’t do anything about it?
    5. What are the costs likely to be?

Information on fees

We scored 79 compared to the benchmark median score of 83 (out of 100).

This criteria was identified for improvement by a patient feedback survey at Blackburn Specialist Centre in May 2023, and since then we have expanded the amount of information on our websites regarding fees (there is a page on each website labelled FEES).  We have also increased the amount of information on the waiting room TVs about fees. Your feedback shows we need to do even more.

“There are nearly 6,000 MBS item numbers. GPs can charge for one or more MBS items for a patient service.” (Source: https://theconversation.com/medicare-billing-is-a-problem-but-our-research-found-many-more-gps-undercharge-203561). As costs differ for different item numbers, and reception cannot predict which item numbers will be billed, this means there are many possibilities when it comes to the cost of a visit.

We empathise with patients and understand that uncertainty around fees can be stressful for patients. Patients are encouraged to discuss any financial difficulties with their GP.

We will investigate adding an insert page to our Patient Information Brochure, with more examples of commonly billed item numbers and associated fees. We can also increase the number of examples on the FEES page of our websites. The GPs who consult from Blackburn Clinic Carson Suite are independent medical practitioners, with full discretion over their own billing. To maximise consistency, we have a Standard Gap during Mon-Fri (8am-6pm) for most ‘consultation’ items of $60.60, and a Concession Gap that is roughly half the Standard Gap.

We thank the patients who completed surveys for the Carson Suite and are overjoyed that the vast majority of feedback showed that our efforts to provide professional and caring service are being recognised.

Our mission: Providing exceptional healthcare to our community.

Congratulations Wendy!

Last week our intrepid Office Manager, Wendy Cooney, headed off into the retirement phase of her life. Wendy was always a calm and steady influence, no matter what was thrown at her by Medicare or international pandemics! Wendy has experienced many changes since she started at Blackburn Clinic 35 years ago, especially in the area of technology. She embraced changes with dignity and so we’re sure she’ll thrive with this latest change.
We will miss Wendy enormously, but wish her all the best with her campervan travels and other endeavours. Her large family will continue to keep her busy.

Movember update – $3,686 raised so far

It’s almost the end of the month, so we thought you’d want to see a pic of our team’s Moustache progress! Here are Drs Yashar, Connoley and Qi sporting their ‘taches!

We are proud of the whole team for their activities (many preferred to Walk rather than grow facial hair!) and fundraising. There is still time to support Movember, who do great work for Men’s mental health and suicide prevention, prostate and testicular cancer.

Here’s the link to our team page:

https://au.movember.com/team/2299231

Movember fundraising for men’s health

The Blackburn Clinic Movember team are raising funds and awareness this Movember for all the dads, sons and mates in our lives. We need your help. Please donate to support men’s health. Use the link below to find our Movember team page:

https://au.movember.com/team/2299231

What is the Medicare Safety Net?

When you spend over a certain amount in a calendar year (1 Jan to 31 Dec) you qualify for a larger Medicare rebate. The Safety Net can help to lower your out of pocket costs.
If you’re single, you’ll automatically receive the higher rebates once you reach the threshold. But if you’re part of a family, you need to register by downloading a form from Services Australia website, via the Medicare Express Plus app, or by calling the Medicare general enquiries line (132 011).

Video Consultations

Video consults may not be suitable for every medical condition or every person, but they can be a useful service which the GPs are pleased to now offer. Face-to-face consults remain the gold standard and there will be a range of medical problems that your GP is unable to treat via video. Physical examinations may be required for the GP to establish a diagnosis, manage certain conditions and to prevent gaps in care. Patients are asked to respect their GP’s decisions regarding suitability of video consults for their condition, as GPs are not obliged to offer video telehealth consults.

Patients can now book video consults online for most GPs who consult at Blackburn Clinic sites. Using the AMS Connect app on your phone or tablet is easy if you have booked your video consult online:

  • You will receive an automated message 5 minutes prior to the Video Consult, containing a link to the internet method of joining the video consult (in case you don’t want to use the app). Please note that if you use a computer for the internet link, it will need to have a microphone & camera attached.
  • Or you can join the video consult by opening your AMS Connect mobile app and clicking on the AMS Video Appointments button. Then click ‘Join Conference’. Depending on your device, you may be prompted to allow access to your camera and microphone, in which case select “OK” or “Allow”.
  • If the doctor has connected, the video function will start immediately. If the doctor has not yet connected, a message will ask you to Wait. When the doctor connects the video consult will commence automatically.

All telehealth consults (phone and video consults) now require you to provide credit card details at the time of booking the appointment. However, normal billing practices remain in place. If your GP decides to bill your visit to Medicare then your credit card will not be charged. DVA patients will continue to be bulk-billed. Where the telehealth consult is privately billed, the payment will automatically be charged to your credit card once the GP specifies the charge. This process removes the inconvenience of you having to wait for an SMS with a payment link and then having to make an online payment.

Where you are eligible for a Medicare rebate, this will be submitted to Medicare for you, as is done for most face-to-face consults.

Carson Suite achieves Accreditation

Congratulations to our Carson Suite team!

Accreditation  evaluates the quality and safety of the practice environment, systems and processes against the quality standards set by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). Accreditation of General Practices is a voluntary process in Australia and we were assessed by AGPAL, which is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, governed by a board that includes GPs, practice managers and consumer representatives.

To earn accreditation, we undertook an extensive on-site review by a team of AGPAL GP Surveyors and Co-surveyors.  To be awarded accreditation we had to demonstrate how we met all the standards and criteria set by the RACGP.

Achieving accreditation covers:

  • The safe and lawful use of practice equipment;
  • Accessibility and availability of medical care including after-hours and emergency care;
  • Staff training;
  • Information technology and information security;
  • The security and availability of your records and information.

Congratulations to Doctors Alvin Kong, Megan Glenister, Robert Rametta & Karen Du

Congratulations to Dr Alvin Kong, Dr Megan Glenister, Dr Robert Rametta & Dr Karen Du (not pictured), who were recently awarded Fellowship to the Royal Australian College of GPs. This represents 10-14 years of training and hard slog. Alvin, Megan, Rob & Karen are key members of the Blackburn Clinic team and we are extremely proud of them on receiving this well-deserved recognition.

Children aged 6 months to under 5 years who are most at risk of severe disease are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination from 5 September 2022

The eligible population are those with severe immunocompromise, disability and those with complex/multiple health conditions. We will do our best to confirm eligibility of our regular patients at the time of booking. New patients are welcome but an appointment with a GP will be required to confirm eligibility – any appointment solely related to Covid-19 vaccination will be bulk-billed. New patients should seek a health summary from their regular GP.
Both age groups receive two doses 8 weeks apart (three doses 8 weeks apart if severely immunocompromised).
We run our children’s Covid-19 vaccinations on Friday afternoons at the Carson Suite, alternating Pfizer for ages 5-11 one week with Moderna for ages 6 months to under 5 the next week. BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL – phone 9875 1123 to book.