A snapshot of the astonishing range in fees for independent psychiatric reports in Australia.

April 6, 2013

I have reviewed the workers compensation fee schedules for all but the Northern Territory and Tasmania. The range of fees is vast and the services for which fees are provided differs markedly (for full information see  ‘Australian fee schedules for independent psychiatric assessment’ on the website).  In some states you receive an extra fee if the interview was done with an interpreter, in some states there is a specific fee for watching videos.

Two typical examples are the fee for an examination and report. This fee ranges between $871.96 and $2074.30, with an extra $212.60 if an interpreter is present.  The reading and preparation time in one state is a total fee of $47.98 for reading more than 20 pages but in another state the rate is $482 per hour.

I have now reached the point where it is no longer economically viable for me to do WorkCover examinations in Victoria, especially when people do not turn up or appointments cancelled at short notice.

I estimate that the average claim involves me reading for at least an hour and usually two, the interview takes me more than an hour and the report preparation time is at least another hour. So, for a total of four hours I receive a fee of $871.96 plus $47.98 for an average rate of $230 an hour.In my experience the overheads of doing medicolegal work are higher than those required for usual clinical practice.

Compare that with the equivalent fee for an initial consultation of more than 45 minutes funded by Medicare. The MBS fee is $260.30!


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