ACCC renews GP fee setting authorisation
The ACCC has released its final decision to renew for another 10 years the AMA’s existing authorisation that protects AMA member and non-member GPs from action under the Competition and Consumer Act (2010).
The ACCC has accepted that the authorisation continues to be in the public interest.
The specific conduct that has been authorised by the decision includes:
- Intra-practice price setting - this allows GPs in a practice to discuss the fees charged to patients, which provides patients with certainty about the costs, if any, they face when they visit their GP or general practice.
- Collective bargaining as a single practice for Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) services to public hospitals – this is particularly relevant in rural areas where GPs in a practice can negotiate collectively with their local hospital about the services they provide to the local hospital.
- Collective bargaining as a single practice with Primary Health Networks (PHNs).
The authorisation provides GPs with legal protection and avoids the administrative and legal costs that GPs would otherwise incur in having to seek legal and other advice that would be needed in the absence of this authorisation.