Top 10 Tips for Better Billing in General Practice



1. Know your MBS

General practice is not about items 23, 36 & 44. There are at least 100 relevant billings in general practice so if you don’t know them, start learning.


2. Have a cheat sheet

I have at least three general surgeons, three orthopedic surgeons, two paediatricians, two dermatologists, one neurologist, two gynecologists, two ophthalmologists, two ENT, two respiratory, two endocrinologists, three gastroenterologists, two cardiologists and a urologist who are willing to take my calls. They are private consultants who give quick good phone advice rather than sitting on hold for a public hospital registrar.


3. Know when you make good money

Saturday pm and Sunday consults attract a higher Medicare rebate (5020, 5040) and patients are usually happy to pay a bigger gap for after hours service (my clinic charges $50). Having a half day on a quieter day such as Wednesday or arranging nursing home visits will return better dollars for your working hours.


4. Do your paperwork in the quiet part of the day

Don’t stay back or start early to do paperwork as these are the best times to get good quick consults. If you arrive at 8am to do paperwork you could have seen 5 early morning patients and billed $400 before your colleagues even start work.


5. Skill up

Lesion removal, Mirena and LARC insertion, drainage of abscesses, cryotherapy, wedge resections – these procedures all have individual Medicare rebates and patients are generally happy to pay a good gap on a good service and follow up. The same goes for those interested in cosmetics.


6. Check your diary

Don’t let management book you out a week or two in advance. You need to keep three day prior and on-day appointments to manage your patients well – and it is also much better for income generation.


7. Use comment short cuts

If you can’t type 100 words a minute, every minute you are sitting typing patient notes you are not consulting. My clinic has over 100 comments, many with lots of little reminders for our locum and new doctors.


8. Locum a few weeks a year

Working locum is not just about making money. It also expands your exposure to other practices, good and bad, and allows you to take back knowledge to your practice. I have plenty of holidays and dates working away, so if you want to locum at a really fantastic practice message me!


9. Have lots of resources at your finger tips

Having brochures and books for patients to take away and read will reduce your explanation time and they can come back and ask relevant questions.



I can’t draw and this saves time – I have some great shortcuts to greater trochanter bursitis, costochondritis, disc-bulging, and some good dermatology pictures from DermNet NZ.