COVID-19 vaccines are free for patients
COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia.
You cannot charge new or existing patients for a COVID-19 vaccine, or for an appointment to get a vaccine.
Charging a patient any costs associated with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination (including booking fees) is a breach of the requirements under the program.
You may not charge for any other service as a prerequisite to getting a vaccination such as requiring the patient to have a general check-up.
You (or the practice) cannot charge booking fees or patient registration fees for patients seeking a vaccination.
Medicare Benefits Schedule items
The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) funds general practices to provide vaccination services.
The Australian Government has introduced 16 temporary MBS COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment items. This allows GPs and other suitably qualified health professionals to assess patients for their suitability to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The MBS items are categorised by:
- practitioner (GP/other medical professional)
- location (metropolitan/non-metropolitan)
- time period (business/after hours)
- dose (first dose/second dose).
GPs and other medical professionals can also claim 2 MBS items for in-depth, clinical assessments for patients requiring an in-depth assessment about their individual health risks and benefits associated with receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. See the MBS Online fact sheet on in-depth assessment.
Use your professional judgment to determine the most clinically appropriate services to provide. The claiming GP must be satisfied that all requirements are met in claiming the MBS item.
If you complete a vaccine suitability assessment, you can claim the appropriate MBS item regardless of the assessment outcome.
If the patient comes back another day, you must reassess their suitability for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Patients must attend the GP or other qualified clinic face-to-face to qualify for MBS requirements.
A supervising GP must be present at the location. The GP has full responsibility for the assessment, but can delegate any part of the assessment or vaccine.
GPs and other medical professionals can claim a flag-fall fee for COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment services conducted in a:
- residential aged care facility (RACF)
- residential disability setting
- patient’s residence.
The flag-fall helps with transport costs to see a patient where they live. See the MBS Online fact sheet on flag-fall.
Charging for consultations to discuss vaccination
You can charge patients for a consultation to discuss vaccination if they are clear when booking that they don't intend to proceed with vaccination at that time.
You must let the patient know they will be charged for the consultation beforehand.