Services provided at DMC

This policy describes how we provide our services. We have organised services in this way to best help the children we see. Although the needs of each child and family vary, there are common principles that guide how we structure services provided. 

The policy covers:

  1. Clinical care
  2. Consultation planning (duration, cost)
  3. Services that are not face-to-face or telehealth appointments

Clinical care

Assessment

When you first see us, initial services are to understand and provide an opinion regarding what is going on with your child. These initial consultations could be considered as 'assessment'.

Sometimes we are asked to 'confirm' diagnoses that have been made by other professionals. This is not how we work. Our approach is to listen to your concerns, consider the information available, and form our own opinions regarding what may be going on.

At the conclusion of this we generally write an opinion report back to your referring GP, and provide a copy to yourself.

Collaboration

Ongoing care

After the assessment, you may wish to work with us around ongoing care.

Our approach to this is systematic. We clarify what we are working towards, and how we would like to achieve this purpose. In general, this combines immediate (short term) goals with distant (long term) intended outcomes.

To achieve this requires regular booked services where strategy and goals are set, reviewed and reset. In this way we are able to establish your child on a positive developmental path, then work not only to keep them on that path, but to continue to make things better.

An example is the use of medication. We consider medication to 'enable' developmental interventions, to get your child back on track. To achieve this is more than taking medication, it is also regular review of what else needs to be worked on.

For this reason, we do not provide services that are booked ‘as needed’, where these are requested in response to problems that arise. In our opinion, this is not the best way to help your child.

Working with other professionals

When providing ongoing care, it is common that parents work with several professions. In general, this works well, provided there is good ongoing exchange of information.

Sometimes, however, several professionals working on the same problems do so from different clinical beliefs (what is going on, what needs to be done). These beliefs and practices may not readily fit with how we work. Potential examples include working with alternative health practitioners, or even several medical doctors who are each treating with medication.

If we consider that our work does not readily fit with the work of others, we will discuss this with you. We reserve the right to discontinue our ongoing care if we believe it is unlikely to be effective under these circumstances.

Consultation planning

Our consultation services are booked with predetermined time, duration and cost. We do our best to estimate the likely time needed. When issues arise during consultations that need to be addressed, but the time to this will exceed the allocated time, there are several options:

Please note that the time charged covers activities such as reading reports and writing letters, that occur outside the direct consultation time. Even when the clinical discussion may conclude before the allocated duration, it is usual that the full time is meaningfully utilised.

Occasionally, however, consultations are booked (e.g. for an hour), but the discussion concludes well before the expected time (e.g. 30 minutes). If it is appropriate to reduce the fee, this needs to be negotiated on the same day. It is very difficult to reverse Medicare billings after they have been concluded.

Non face-to-face services

In our consulting practice, much happens outside of face to face meetings. This includes reading information (questionnaires, reports), writing professional reports and letters, phone calls and responding to a variety of other requests.

Our current billing schedule is designed to address the expected and routine aspects of this (e.g. reading referral materials, writing consultation letters). For this reason we do not bill additionally for these. The cost is incorporated into the consultation fee.

Where services are required that fall outside this arrangement, we do apply an additional fee. These are activities for which additional time is required, and where the additional service is clinically important to your child, such that is necessary to document what has happened in your child’s clinical record. 

Examples include:

In these situations, you will be notified of potential cost before they are undertaken. The activities will be diarised in our system, and the relevant clinical information (e.g. what teachers may say) recorded in your child’s records.

Prescriptions

In general we provide prescriptions as part of booked consultations. This is because our service model is to provide active care where medication is part of overall strategy, and this is regularly reviewed and revised (see above).

For this reason, if we provide prescriptions between booked appointments, we will only provide sufficient to last until the next booked appointment.