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If a patient is unable to sign an assignment of benefit form, you can get a signature from any of the following:
- the patient’s parent
- the patient’s guardian
- another responsible person.
In the absence of a parent, guardian or responsible person, leave the ‘patient signature’ section blank.
Where the signature space is either left blank or another person signs on the patient’s behalf, the assignment of benefit form must include the following:
- the notation ‘Patient unable to sign’
- in the ‘Practitioner’s Use’ section, the reason why the patient was unable to sign. For example, use ‘unconscious’, ‘injured hand’ or ‘verbal consent obtained’.
For Medicare Easyclaim, consent from the patient, the patient’s parent, guardian or other responsible person is acceptable. Press the OK or YES button on the EFTPOS terminal.
‘Responsible person’ refers to an adult person accompanying the patient or in whose care the patient has been placed.
A responsible person can include someone who is any of the following:
- the parent or guardian
- holds power of attorney
- holds a guardianship order
- the next of kin.
This does not include the:
- health professional who rendered the service
- health professional’s staff
- hospital proprietor or staff
- aged care home proprietor or staff.
If you assess the reason a patient is unable to sign is of a highly sensitive nature, write in the ‘Practitioner’s Use’ section either:
- ‘due to medical condition’
- ‘due to sensitive condition’.
Only do this if revealing the reason would:
- mean an unacceptable breach of patient confidentiality
- unduly embarrass or distress the recipient of the patient’s copy of the assignment of benefit form.
This should not be routine practice. You can’t use ‘extenuating circumstances’ as a reason for no patient signature.
You and the patient must have entered into a bulk bill agreement at the time of service. This must include having the patient sign the assignment of benefit form.
If the patient has not signed the form, a signature from a responsible person is acceptable.
A responsible person can be either:
- the executor of the will
- an appointed administrator.
You must not write ‘patient deceased’ as a reason for not getting a signature on the assignment of benefit form.
Follow the steps in the table below when a patient assigns their right to a Medicare benefit to you by email.
For privacy reasons, don’t include the Medicare card number and provider number in the email.
|1. Tell the patient you’re bulk billing||
At the telehealth consultation, tell the patient you wish to bulk bill Medicare for the service.
To do this the patient will need to:
|2. Send email to the patient||
Before submitting the claim, you need to send an email to the patient that includes all of the following:
The details of the service should include all of the following:
‘If you (the patient) agree to the assignment of the Medicare benefit directly to the health professional (bulk bill), reply to this email including the following words:
Yes, I agree to the assignment of the Medicare benefit directly to the health professional, and your (the patient’s) name.’
|3. Submit the claim||
When you get a reply email from the patient with the required information:
For manually submitted claims, write in the signature block ‘Written email agreement provided.’
For electronic claims, you don’t need to note the email signature but you must keep the patient’s email consent on file.
You must then:
By noting ‘email agreement’ on the manual General, Specialist and Diagnostic (assignment of benefit) form (DB4), you acknowledge you’ve followed steps 1 to 3 above.
We recommend you keep a copy of all emails, claims and forms for at least 2 years. This is for auditing purposes if you are subject to a compliance review.
This process complies with section 10 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999. This act outlines the steps to be taken for an electronic signature to be recognised.
It also meets the legal requirement of needing a patient signature to assign a Medicare benefit.
Dear Mr Jones (patient)
Details of the telehealth consultation to be claimed with Medicare:
Item number: 91822
Benefit amount: $78.05
Date and time of consultation: 01.07.2022 10:30 am
Patient name: Peter Jones
Health professional name: Jane Smith
If you (the patient) agree to the assignment of the Medicare benefit directly to the health professional (bulk bill), reply to this email including the following wording:
- ‘Yes, I agree to the assignment of the Medicare benefit directly to the health professional.’
- your (the patient’s) name or the name of parent or guardian (where a child is the patient and unable to sign).
Dr Jane Smith