GP Access pilot continues to provide value to Medibank members
Medibank's innovative pilot, GP Access, continues to grow and deliver valuable assistance to Medibank members. The pilot, which is now available in 26 medical centres in Queensland, aims to provide members with additional value for their private health insurance and to help them to improve their health.
The GP Access pilot provides Medibank members in participating locations with:
� Same-day appointments - when members call one of the participating GP clinics before 10am weekdays they are guaranteed an appointment for that day. If members call later, the clinic will do their best to fit them in.
� Fee-free consultations - members who show their Medibank card at a participating clinic or who use the after-hours GP will pay no out-of-pocket costs for the consultation.
� After-hours GP home-visits - members in Brisbane metro areas can access an after-hours home GP visit within three hours.
� A range of one-off health assessments available to people at different life stages with no out of pocket costs.
First launched in late 2013, the pilot is now available in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Ipswich and Cairns.
Medibank's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ian Boyd, explained that, as well as enhancing the value of health insurance for Medibank members, the GP Access pilot aims to support GPs and to better promote primary care as an important and effective part of the health system:
"Closer collaboration with GPs, particularly in the areas of preventative health, choice and access to services, is better for our members' health and also makes sense to Medibank from a business perspective. If we can keep our members healthier and out of hospital it is a win-win."
Currently, 145 doctors are participating in the pilot, which has already seen 13,642 consults at participating media centres and 142 after-hours home visits. So far, research with members who have used the pilot has demonstrated positive results, with 35% of respondents more likely to stay with Medibank with these additional services.
Dr Boyd continues, "The GP Access pilot is optional for both patients and GPs, and is about providing Medibank members with choices that may assist them to access a GP. This GP service could be added to their existing GP relationship, for example, if a member is struggling to access their GP within a short time frame; or if they are reluctant to pay an out-of-pocket cost for a basic consultation."
Medibank is contributing to the management of the pilot and associated administrative costs, and is highly respectful of the legal and regulatory obligations. Importantly, Medibank has no involvement in the clinical interface and the GP has complete ownership of the clinical component of the GP/patient relationship.
"As a former practising GP myself, I know how important it is for GPs to manage the healthcare of their patients, Medibank's aim is to provide GPs with more support to enable them to do this," Dr Boyd said.
Medibank members are not prioritised over other patients and non-Medibank patients will never be cancelled in order for a member to be seen. Rather, the pilot enables GPs to offer more services and encourages people to see a GP when they have health concerns. If the pilot is evaluated to be successful Medibank hopes to open up the program to other areas.
Commenting on the proposed changes to the health system, Dr Boyd says, "The GP Access pilot program will continue in its current form. However, should the proposed $7 GP co-payments Bill pass through Parliament we will discuss our response to the new legislation with our GP Access partners and inform our members if any changes are to be made to the program well in advance of 1 July 2015."
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