Money Matters Practice Management Surgeon and Anaesthetist Bills
Surgeon and Anaesthetist Bills
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A recent review of complaints data gathered by the WA Office of Health Review shows that treatment and cost complaints still top the list for medical practitioners. Although unsurprising, in depth analysis by the office revealed that cost complaints were significantly higher for anaesthetists and general surgeons than other types of practitioners, primarily due to issues in communicating the cost of the care provided.

In order to clarify the issue the office performed a secondary study with a group of surgeons and anaethetists who had not received complaints, to try and isolate what may have made their communication more effective. 26 responses were received, broken down into gap and non-gap providers.

 

Gap Providers [N = 17]

 

Gap Providers

Yes

No

1

Routinely provide information about costs

94%

6%

2

Provide information only if asked

21%

79%

3

Provide written information on costs

81%

19%

4

Provide written quote or estimate of fees

87%

13%

5

Encourage discussions about costs

69%

31%

6

Document discussions about costs

25%

75%

 

No-Gap Providers [N = 9]

 

No-Gap Providers

Yes

No

1

Routinely provide information about costs

33%

67%

2

Provide information only if asked

88%

12%

3

Provide written information on costs

0%

100%

4

Provide written quote or estimate of fees

0%

100%

5

Encourage discussions about costs

33%

67%

6

Document discussions about costs

11%

89%

 

 

Given the relatively small number of responses, conclusions drawn will be indicative rather than absolute. What is indicated is that ready provision of information, particularly in written form, is upheld as an element of good practice. While hardly surprising, it does serve as a reminder of the obligation to provide information.