Consultants have been granted a reprieve on the introduction of billing charges by clearing organisation Healthcode.
The company announced today that it would postpone bringing in charges for its Invoice Clearing Service ‘because of the uncertainty caused by the second coronavirus lockdown’.
Independent practitioners faced paying £6.99 per month to subscribe to the Clearing Service for electronic medical bills and a transaction fee of 25p per cleared invoice.
The charges, which brought some criticism from consultants who have been used to getting this service for free, were to apply to those using Healthcode’s ePractice software and those who access its service using third-party practice management software.
Healthcode managing director Peter Connor defended the decision to introduce fees in an article in Independent Practitioner Today’s November digital issue last week, saying a free service was no longer sustainable.
But the company said today that charges for practitioners and clinics will be introduced in 2021.
Mr Connor said: ‘Healthcode’s customers in the independent healthcare sector currently have to contend with the renewal of lockdown and the ongoing business uncertainty caused by this unprecedented health crisis.
‘In these circumstances, we feel the right course is to defer the implementation of charges for the Clearing Service at this time. We cannot sustainably delay charging indefinitely, but will continue to monitor the situation and update customers in the New Year.’
Electronic bills can meanwhile be submitted free of charge to private medical insurers through Healthcode’s secure Clearing Service, which then validates them in accordance with the relevant insurer’s rules and presents them ready for processing and payment.