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Frequently Asked Questions

Before submitting a referral

How do I refer my patient to the Sunshine Coast hospital and Health Service?

Referring health providers will find referral criteria and contact information for hospital specialties and community health services within the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) on Sunshine Coast and Gympie HealthPathways.

HealthPathways is intended to be the most up-to-date “source of truth” for clinical management advice and hospital referral guidelines for your patients.

SCHHS has general and specific referral requirements aligned with the statewide Clinical Prioritisation Criteria (CPC) for specialist outpatient services and allied health outpatient services.

Referrals can be sent electronically (preferred) via Smart Referrals or Medical Objects or via fax (See referrals page for details).

How do I ensure my referral is accepted by the SCHHS?

Before referring to the SCHHS it is recommended to check the management and referral guidelines available on Sunshine Coast and Gympie HealthPathways. Practices who use Smart Referrals will be able to see the referral guidelines in the Smart Referrals software.

Do I have to provide named referrals?

Referrals may or may not be named. Hospitals can request but cannot demand a named referral.

What happens with urgent referrals when referral criteria are not met?

If the content of the referral indicates that it is potentially a category 1, the referral will be accepted by the hospital regardless of whether it contains all essential information, and the GP will be contacted to request the extra information required. The referral will be placed on a category 1 waitlist to ensure that care is not delayed.

I am having technical difficulties with eReferral/Smart Referral solution, who should I contact?

If you have technical difficulties please call the Smart Referral hotline by dialling 1300 478 439 and choosing the option ‘Smart Referrals’.

After submitting a referral

Has my referral been received?

The SCHHS will communicate the receipt of a referral with the patient and referring doctor. Practices who use Smart Referrals will be able to see the status of a referral in the Smart Referrals software. Please contact the Referrals centre for more information about the status of a referral.

My referral has been declined, what now?

Please check the referral criteria on Sunshine Coast and Gympie HealthPathways.

HealthPathways is intended to be the most up-to-date “source of truth” for clinical management advice and hospital referral guidelines for your patients.

SCHHS has general and specific referral requirements aligned with the statewide Clinical Prioritisation Criteria (CPC) for specialist outpatient services and allied health outpatient services.

The SCHHS will endeavor to specify which information is missing or required when communicating with a referring doctor about a declined referral.

Please contact the clinic nurse of the relevant speciality department for more information (use SCHHS switchboard).

How do I check the waitlist for my patient?

Smart Referrals will indicate what the expected waiting time is for your patient prior to referral, based on the provided referral information. After triage the SCHHS will communicate the triage category (1, 2 or 3) with the patient and the referring doctor. Please contact the Referrals Centre GP Priority line for more information about waiting times.

How do I check if and when my patient has an appointment?

The SCHHS will communicate the time and date of the first appointment with the patient and referring doctor. Please contact the Referrals Centre GP Priority line for more information about appointments.

How do I upgrade an existing referral when my patient’s condition or circumstances have changed?

Please re-submit your referral and include an explanation of the changes in your patient’s condition or circumstances. When using an electronic template select the upgrade option, otherwise clearly mark the referral as ‘upgrade request’. Please also check the referral criteria on Sunshine Coast and Gympie HealthPathways before submitting.

Patient records

How do I request my patient’s medical records (not just pathology and imaging)?

For non-urgent requests: please provide a written request faxed on practice letterhead.

For urgent requests: please mark fax clearly with ‘Urgent’ and specify timeframe / reason, or GP to call directly (not via a staff member please).

Contact Clinical Information Access

Tip: Also check the Viewer (Health provider Portal) for clinical information.

I have not received a discharge summary, letter or other clinical handover for my patients, what do I do?

Please directly contact the clinic nurse of the relevant speciality department (use SCHHS switchboard) or contact the GP Liaison Unit.

How do I find the results of my patient’s pathology/imaging results?

Please use the contact details for pathology and imaging enquiries.
Tip: Also check the Viewer (Health provider Portal) for clinical information.

How do I access the viewer (Health provider Portal)?

Use of the HPP requires each user to have a QGov login account as well as having registered current and active professional practice details. More details on how to create a new QGov account can be found on the Better connecting Queensland’s General Practitioners (GP) and public hospitals page. Technical assistance is available by calling 1300 478 439.

Miscellaneous

How do I provide feedback / lodge a complaint?

The Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service welcomes feedback from health providers regarding your experience of our health service. If you are a health provider and would like to give a compliment, make a complaint or offer a suggestion that would improve our service, please contact us.

What is Smart Referrals?

Smart Referrals is an electronic referral system designed to make life easier for healthcare professionals, and to improve the quality of referrals.

How do I become a shared antenatal provider?

The Maternity and GP Shared Care Guideline outlines the benefits and requirements of the Preferred Provider Program (PPP). For more information visit HealthPathways.

I would like to work as a GP with Special Interest (GPSI) in the hospital, who do I contact?

Is Medicare billing in the hospital legal?

Bulk billing by hospitals is influenced by several sets of rules:

  • In order to bulk bill, the referral needs to be named to a clinician. This is a requirement of the National Health Reform Agreement
  • The Medicare eligible patient has to agree to be bulk billed
  • They have to be seen by a medical officer, specialist or non-specialist, with a grant of private practice and a billable provider number.

When we bulk bill an outpatient service the systems that track this activity identify that we have received Medicare monies for that service and as such that service is excluded from any data submissions that would generate federal funding. Hospitals are subject to audits by Medicare and by the Queensland Department of Health.

Points to note:

  • Hospitals cannot bulk bill a patient referred for an outpatient specialist service when they are referred from an ED presentation
  • Hospitals cannot bulk services provided by registrars, nurse-led clinics, allied health or nurse practitioners
  • Hospitals cannot bulk bill a Medicare ineligible patient
  • The term’ Medicare eligible’ includes a valid reciprocal patient but they cannot be bulk billed and have to be seen as a public patient
  • Hospitals do not need a referral to bulk bill a procedure but do need a referral to bill for a diagnostic service;
  • Hospitals need a named referral to bulk bill at the referred rate when a patient is seen by a specialist for a consultation. If they are seen by a non-specialist a referral for Medicare billing purposes is not required. Note that, although GPs are recognised as specialists by AHPRA, they are currently referred to as non-specialists when working in the Queensland Health system (e.g. as ‘GPSIs’);
  • Hospitals cannot demand a named referral
  • Written advice has been provided by Medicare Australia which confirms that a referral made to a specific specialist or consultant physician can be used by another specialist or consultant physician who is working in the same specialty at the same location.

How do I update my details to receive electronic correspondence from the hospital?

To update the details for new or existing GPs to receive electronic correspondence from Queensland Health sites or any other STS Address Book Enquiries:

Phone: 1800 198 175 / 07 3726 4880 or Email: STS_External-Alerts@health.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 30 October 2019