Below is a description of the ways in which an Aboriginal community controlled health service can ensure it tells patients about any out-of-pocket expenses. Not all of these good practices are required by the Standards, but they illustrate the many practical and creative things that ACCHSs can do to ensure they deliver services of high safety and quality to their community.
All services and consultations provided at the service are bulk-billed and additional costs for patients are kept to a minimum.
The service participates in as many Close the Gap campaign initiatives as it can, and explains to patients any of the financial aspects that may be related to the care they receive. This includes medicines and other pharmacy services, referrals to specialists, and health assessment and prevention programs.
Reception staff have a list of available external health service providers. When making appointments with these providers on behalf of the patients, staff phone to check for any out-of-pocket costs patients are likely to receive.
The service has negotiated for local pathology and radiology providers to bulk-bill patients it refers to them. It also has a list of external specialists, pathology or radiology providers and advises patients if those providers will bulk-bill or charge a fee that must be paid at the time of service.
The service makes available to patients a list of services it provides, such as:
- electrocardiogram (ECG)
- consultations (short, standard, long)
- diabetes education classes
- care plans for chronic disease management
travel, accommodation and other costs for patients – including, if it is offered, an escort from a remote community to accompany patients to a regional or city hospital and other available assistance (for example, contacting the Aboriginal liaison officer at the hospital and requesting for patients to be met when they disembark from transport and escorted to the hospital or accommodation).
The list states if these are bulk-billed or if they may incur out-of-pocket costs that must be paid at the time of service.