27 October 2020
Can general practices charge a fee to upload immunisation histories and calculate catch-ups?
When a medical practitioner bulk bills a service, they cannot make additional charges for that service. This also applies to immunisation services. The exception is where they give the patient a vaccine from their own supply held at their premises.
The additional charge must only be to cover the supply of the vaccine. Medicare considers the uploading of immunisation history and calculating catch-up to be part of the immunisation service.
A practitioner also receives an additional payment, an Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) information payment for completing an immunisation schedule for an eligible patient and recording it on the AIR – regardless of whether or not the patient has a Medicare card. AIR information payments are for:
- Completing a National Immunisation Program Schedule for a child under 7 years old and recording it on the AIR
- Following up and vaccinating a child under 7 years old who is more than 2 months overdue for their childhood vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program Schedule and recording it on the AIR
The practitioner therefore cannot charge patients additional fees for uploading immunisation histories to AIR or calculating immunisation catch-up schedules if the service was bulk billed.
By the Primary Health Care Improvement team at North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network.
Disclaimer: NWMPHN provides Medicare information as a guide only and recommends general practitioners familiarise themselves with the detailed descriptions contained in the MBS, available at mbsonline.gov.au. Under the Health Insurance Act 1973 practitioners are legally responsible for services billed to Medicare under their Medicare provider number or in their name.