The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission proposes to grant authorisation* to CALMS Ltd to continue** to use a 'not to exceed' fee schedule (capped fee arrangement) for after-hours primary medical care in the ACT.
Under the arrangement, CALMS doctors will not be able to charge fees above the cap for consultations but will be able to charge fees lower than the cap or bulk bill where appropriate. It is proposed the authorisation will run for three years.
"The ACCC considers that the capped fee structure promotes transparency and certainty regarding fees for patients seeking after hours primary medical care in the ACT," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today. "The detriment from the arrangement is limited, particularly as it imposes a cap rather than a fee floor."
The ACCC notes that the level of the fee cap may need to change during the timeframe of the proposed authorisation. To provide some flexibility and to reduce the need for CALMS to seek reauthorisation if fees change, the ACCC has proposed to allow CALMS to make reasonable changes to the capped fee schedule. The ACCC recognises that any fee increase that affects the balance of public benefit and detriment would constitute a material change in circumstances. The ACCC may seek to review the final authorisation if this occurred.
Comments on the proposed determination are sought. Copies of the draft determination are available from the ACCC's website. Submissions can be made to: The General Manager, Adjudication Branch, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, GPO Box 3131, Canberra, ACT 2601 or lodged by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.