Policies

Cancellation Policy

Less than 24 hours’ notice or no-shows

We require 24 hours’ notice for appointment cancellations other than Community Acupuncture or initial consultations. Any cancellations within 24 hours or non-attendance at booked appointments will incur the full cost of the appointment service.

There are several reasons for this pricing:

Late cancellation or no-shows prevent other people from accessing the service.

Cost to the business from not having others booked at the spot that was promised.

Cost of administration time and labour to reschedule you or send invoices.

All patients are notified in SMS and email reminders, and on business cards, of the 24 hour cancellation policy so that they are aware that it is in place.  We will usually allow late cancellation to occur without a fee the first time, or in case of extreme emergency. If there is room for you to reschedule for the same week and you choose to do so, and if it is a one-off late cancellation due to an uncontrollable circumstance the cancellation fee will be waived.

Repeated cancellations within 2 days of booked appointment

If three or more cancellations occur from the same patient within 2 days of their appointment during a 30 day period, the patient will be asked to refrain from pre-booking and call or text on the day that they intend to come in.  This is to prevent gaps in service and inconvenience to both the business and the other patients who would happily attend a pre-booked appointment in that spot.  Records of cancelled appointments are retained by the practice via Cliniko and can be produced if requested.

PLEASE ENSURE YOU CAN ATTEND THE APPOINTMENT WHEN YOU BOOK IT.

Privacy Policy

Our discretion involving your health information is held with strong regard.

Practitioners and staff undergo privacy training and continuous professional review and development in this area.

All Federal privacy legislation set out by the OAIC is upheld at this health clinic.

Your information is stored digitally and securely within Cliniko, our practice management software.

Paper-based information collection is kept to a minimum however items are stored in a locked facility and destroyed after 7 years.

We require the signing of a “Consent for release of health information” form or notice in writing (ie email) before releasing health information about you to other parties including health professionals, unless required to do so by court subpoena.  In this case we are compelled to provide the information under court order and there is nothing we can do but comply.   

If an issue occurs with your privacy and you wish to make a complaint regarding privacy we would encourage you to communicate with us first so that we can take steps to correct the behaviour that has occurred.  If you still wish to make a formal complaint you can do so via the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Complaints process

Complaints policy

Complaints can be made for many reasons to many organisations.  We endeavour to provide all the information necessary to lodge formal complaints where necessary, as your rights as a patient and your understanding that many laws protect you are of primary importance.

If a patient experiences something that they believe is worthy of submitting a complaint about, we encourage them to first contact us by email at tothepoint@tcmconsultancy.com or via the online form and we will attempt to resolve the issue within the business.   If the complaint escalates and patients wish to make formal complaints against either a practitioner or staff member, they may do so by contacting the following government organisations:

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Federal Government organisation designed to enforce guidelines set by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia for registered Chinese Medicine practitioners under federal health legislation including NHMRC infection control, advertising, patient safety, practitioner conduct, information security and other guidelines.

Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner

State level health regulations differ from Federal guidelines and regulations and thus some complaints can be made via this avenue.  The organisations themselves have comprehensive underpinning legislation that denotes what complaints can be made about and what constitutes a violation of health law.

Booking policy

Standard appointment times are one hour. Some appointments may be slightly longer or shorter than one hour due to different treatment needs, as each case is different. Half hour appointments are available by specific arrangement only and must be made by phone for a specific reason. If you wish to enquire about fees and costs of products, please do so prior to booking your appointment. Patients who arrive late or leave early will still be liable for payment for the entire hour that they have booked.

Late appointments where practitioner is running late

If your appointment is more than 15 minutes late due to the practitioner running behind, you will recieve a $10 discount on the full appointment fee if your appointment does not last for the full hour. We do our best to stay on time but sometimes this is not possible. We do value your time and this is why this policy exists. If time permits, for instance at the end of the day, there may be an extra 15 minutes added to the finish time of the appointment to ensure that you get your full hour of service.

Professional Boundaries

Guidelines

Registered health practitioners are bound by guidelines set out by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia and enforced by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency incuding those surrounding professional boundaries with regard to patient relationships. Privacy is an aspect of these guidelines and to maintain patient privacy, practitioners are not able to approach patients in public unless the patient approaches them first. Please don’t be offended if you run into your practitioner in public and they do not say hello. It’s not because they don’t like you, it is because guidelines do not permit them to do so.

Harrassment of practitioners

All health practitioners have the right to privacy and to live their life without harrassment or judgement. As with patient rights and freedoms, what a practitioner does in their private life is their decision. Practitioner harrassment or bullying by patients or business associates is not tolerated here, and if it occurs, it will reported to the police.

Harrassment consists of:

Continuous texts and emails, particularly after business hours

Attempting to follow someone home or find out where they live

Gossip, rumormongering, slander or public harrassment

Attempting to befriend their social group with a view to undermining their support network

Physical or verbal abuse and property damage

Stalking is a crime in Victoria and will be reported to the authorites, and the appropriate procedures followed.

Stalking legislation can be found at this link.

Sexual harrassment of practitioners is absolutely unacceptable and patients will be asked to leave, not return and be reported to the police if this occurs.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Ordering herbs

Chinese herbal medicine cannot be “ordered” without a consultation unless a patient has had their previous consultation and assessment within the last 28 days. The reason for this is that patients’ conditions are not fixed, and change on a case-by-case basis.

Dispensing Fees

Provision of Chinese herbal medicine services includes a dispensing fee of $25 when no appointment is aligned with the prescription – ie a repeat. No more than 4 weeks supply of herbs will ever be supplied in one purchase to one individual patient.

Product volumes

In individually powdered raw herbal medicines, product volumes may not be consistent except with pre-mixed formulae. For simplicity of dosage and compliance by patients, product volumes of individually mixed powdered raw herbs are divided into spoons per day, and provided with enough spoon volume to last the patient for the appropriate dosage for a period of time – (ie one week at 3 spoons, 3 times daily). Product volume can range up to 10g difference from the volume of the original raw herbal formula before it undergoes the grinding process. Some herbs do not grind down entirely because they have a large, relatively inert cellulose content which is unable to be powdered completely, with the remaining cellulose component discarded. This means that the active components are extracted through grinding and the patient ends up with what they need. Some herbs weigh more than other herbs and the proportionate amount is provided in the original raw herbal formula. The fees and charges are for the complete raw herb amount that has been placed within the formula. Formulas vary with their contents and dosages, and for this reason, individually mixed, powdered raw herbs are provided with the appropriate dosage, which may differ from the listed weight on the jar. The weight on the jar is the weight of the raw product before grinding. Any discrepancy is usually the result of discarded material that cannot be powdered.

Adverse reactions to Chinese herbal medicines

Because the Western palate is unaccustomed to many of the substsnces found in Chinese herbal medicines, patients can sometimes find they are unable to swallow the herbs. If this is the case we request that you discuss with your practitioner to find a more sustainable way for you to take your herbs.

Occasionally there are side effects for Chinese herbal medicines which can vary according to the herbal prescription or the patient who is taking them. There are many ways of treating patients with Chinese herbs and these are sometimes not expected by patients – for instance rubifacient herbs causing rashes to worsen before they improve, vomiting to induce expulsion of toxic substances, or loose bowels to clear out the gastrointestinal tract. All of these are common methods for Chinese herbal medicine and can also induce other types of unexpected symptoms. While practitioners do our best to ensure that patients are prepared for this where it is an intentional part of the treatment protocal and also have provided informed consent for all possible issue, occasionally issues do occur, as with any ingestable substance. Individual biochemistry and allergic reactions are not all necessarily obvious and sometimes problems associated with this can also occur. The more experienced a practitioner is with Chinese herbal medicine, the more likely they are to be able to anticipate possible adverse effects and balance the formula accordingly.

If you do experience any unexpected side effects or adverse reactions to Chinese herbal medicine prescribed by this clinic, please contact the clinic by phoning 0422 353 446 immediately.