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Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Topic: Help! Is this unethical?

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. TheBigBlue
    TheBigBlue avatar
    189 posts
    9 May 2020

    Hi All,

    Now I in no way want to get this medical professional in any trouble, but it isn’t sitting comfortably with me so need some advice.

    Firstly, keep in mind I was stood down from work in March. My business is not eligible for Jobkeeper & as my partner earns over a certain amount, I am not eligible for jobseeker. At this stage my business is closed until September, so I have NO financial income of any form for the next few months.

    This medical professional lives interstate but would travel to my state once a month for face to face appointments. Once COVID hit & borders closed, we had to adjust to FaceTime calls.
    No problems, we switched to weekly FaceTime calls. I sent them an updated medical health plan. After 2 appointments I started to wonder why I hadn’t received a bill. So I asked them & they advised that due to the circumstances they were not charging for the month of April as they would charge Medicare & waive the gap fee.

    ok, if that’s the way they want to proceed in April then so be it. I did the right thing by asking about it & thought the reasons they gave were valid. Plus it was a MASSIVE relief to me as I am literally living off my savings right now.

    However, I had now had two FaceTime appointments for May & again have received no bill ???? I’m scared if I don’t remind them again I may get an unexpectedly large bill at the end of the month.

    This person knows about my financial circumstances & I have a really good doctor/patient relationship with them. But my anxiety is screaming at me.

    Is this person doing a wrong thing by not charging me? Are they giving me extra free sessions because of my financial situation? Am I a bad person for thinking if I don’t mention the lack of bills, that perhaps I will get away more free sessions? If they thought they were doing me a favour, will I embarrass them by asking about it again? Would it mean they will change their mind & start charging me again?

    im so very, very confused & while the lure of free hour long weekly FaceTime appointments is very enticing, my pride won’t let me take advantage of the situation.

    Any advise would be appreciated. At this point I’m leaning towards asking them about the bill again. It just seems.......... weird

  2. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    4873 posts
    9 May 2020 in reply to TheBigBlue
    Hi TheBigBlue,

    We're so sorry to hear how the pandemic has affected your business and your income. We empathise with how difficult it is to cope with these kinds of changes. Please know that our community is here to support you and we will get through this.  If you feel it might be useful, we'd encourage you to visit our Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. The website will be regularly updated with information, advice and strategies to help you manage your wellbeing and mental health during this time.  It might be safest to ask the question to relieve your anxiety in regards to the payment situation. It's unlikely that they will be embarrassed by you asking if they are indeed doing you a favour. We will all be sending positive vibes your way in hopes of the best outcome. Keep us updated on what's happening for you whenever you feel up to it.
    1 person found this helpful
  3. TheBigBlue
    TheBigBlue avatar
    189 posts
    9 May 2020 in reply to Sophie_M


    I should clarify that by business I meant my employer, not my own personally run business.

    I think I will message the medical person now. My nerves can’t take not knowing what is going on 🤣

    1 person found this helpful
  4. ecomama
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    ecomama avatar
    4044 posts
    10 May 2020 in reply to TheBigBlue

    H BigBlue

    I'm sorry to hear you're between a rock and hard place in your employment and finances atm .

    Is your partner being supportive to you? Are they helping to support you financially?

    I am grateful for this space to bring our worries to. Keep posting to get support.

    I understand the Govt has put a lot of money into mental health, so maybe this is why your appointments in April were free? Sometimes professionals in this field can apply for grants to cover counselling also.

    You are right to ask again. Maybe you feel ok saying it is causing you anxiety about the bills?

    I know in my workplace, we never know what's going on with covid / Govt translations applying to our place of work. It changes from minute to minute and I just WISH we knew that we were 'working from home' for x time. It has changed daily at times and my colleagues anxiety is through the roof. Mine is too but for completely different reasons!

    What a palaver. I hope your employment can resume at some point soon.

    I am considering retraining at my tender age.

    Thinking of you.


  5. TheBigBlue
    TheBigBlue avatar
    189 posts
    10 May 2020

    I got a reply.

    They said for next few appointments they will still continue to bulk bill me with no co-pay.

    still a little unsure if they are doing this for everyone or just me, but at least I feel better I’m not doing anything dodgy.

    And yes, my partner is being incredibly supportive. He is paying the mortgage, helping with grocery costs & looking after the bills. He even started to pay my medical bills. I feel like such a burden but he says it will be ok & it’s only temporary. But I just can’t help feeling guilty about it. We aren’t married so it just feels strange to me, I’ve always worked & paid my own way for everything.

    Lets hope our world can go back to normal soon

  6. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2951 posts
    11 May 2020 in reply to TheBigBlue

    Hi TheBigBlue,

    I can see that you have gotten lots of support here so I just wanted to pitch in real quick with your question -

    There are quite a few psychologists who are currently not charging clients because of COVID-19. Some choose not to charge those with financial difficulties (like if they own a health care card), others choose not to charge for anybody. Some are still charging normal fees. It's really up to the psychologist and what they are comfortable with.

    EM is right in the government investing in mental health too - this means that video appointments can be completely bulk billed which means no gap for you.

    If you were to mention your financial situation or ask again, there is absolutely no harm in doing so. It's important that you feel comfortable with everything that's going on.

    Hope this helps


    2 people found this helpful

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