GPs predict MyMedicare flop

Lynnette Hoffman

writer

Lynnette Hoffman

Managing Editor

Lynnette Hoffman

Most practices say they will register, but so far few patients are signing up…

More than two thirds of GPs reckon MyMedicare won’t engage enough patients to succeed, Healthed’s latest survey results show.

Despite that, more than half of practices have either already registered (39%) for ‘MyMedicare,’ or intend to (16%).

Yet three weeks after the voluntary patient enrolment policy officially launched, 43% of practice owners say no patients have enrolled.

And it seems few patients are even asking about it, with about nine out of 10 GPs reporting that not a single patient has asked about MyMedicare in the last two weeks.

So it’s little wonder most GPs think the program could be a flop.

The government has billed MyMedicare as a chance to improve continuity of care, and give practices more information about regular patients, along with additional financial incentives and longer telehealth items.

But many GPs are sceptical that the initiative will achieve the claimed benefits.

Nearly two thirds of GPs (62%) said the policy will significantly increase government control of general practice.

“I am concerned about further involvement with a restrictive government initiative,” one surveyed GP said.

Others cited worries about possible privacy issues, as well as concerns regarding “capitation by stealth” and fear that the policy could lead to minimum requirements for bulkbilling in order to receive practice funding.

“This is a not a clear practical policy – quite a few patients usually prefer to select a few different doctors.” – surveyed GP

Less than one in five GPs think it will improve efficiency of healthcare delivery (19% of GPs) or quality of care (18%).

GPs say the policy is also unlikely to impact their bottom line. Around three quarters don’t expect their personal income or practice viability to significantly change as a result of this program (81% and 73% respectively).

GPs still not clear on what MyMedicare actually entails

While most practice owners were generally on board to sign up, one quarter were undecided — and in the free text comments many GPs said they weren’t sure of the details or what registering would actually mean for them or their patients.

“We need more time to understand all practical pros and cons of the initiative,” one GP said.

“We’re waiting to find out more details on the potential impact and see how it is rolled out before committing,” another GP summed up.

Several GPs noted difficulties when signing up, saying the registration process was complicated and time-consuming.

However, it seems that despite these reservations, GPs are remaining open. Just 7% said outright that they don’t intend to register.

You can find health.gov.au’s information about MyMedicare for general practices here.

What GPs are saying about MyMedicare

“I feel this is another way for the government to control costs and therefore increase the burden on GPs without appropriate remuneration.”

“I don’t agree with the principles behind it and think it is the thin edge of the wedge giving the “government” more control over how we practice, similar to the UK system, eventually.”

“We tried to register and over many, many hours were unable to navigate it.”

“Very long, tedious process.”

“It looks like a trojan horse regarding fundholding and capitation of fees.”

“We have a very young population; we are also not sure how this will impact on the impending employment tax and need clarity for this. We do not see the benefit to us.”

A total of 1100 GPs responded to Healthed’s survey, which opened on 17 October 2023. GPs were allowed to skip questions, which is why each question has a different number of GP participants.

Credits

Writing and editing – Lynnette Hoffman
Survey analysis and visualisation – Yasmin Clarke
Survey conception and design – Ramesh Manocha, Yasmin Clarke and Lynnette Hoffman

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Lynnette Hoffman

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Lynnette Hoffman

Managing Editor

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