Elmwood Medical Centre owner committed to bulk billing now and into the future

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'Our philosophy is that we believe all Australians are entitled to medical services regardless of their financial situation' says Elmwood owner Craig Ford.

'Our philosophy is that we believe all Australians are entitled to medical services regardless of their financial situation' says Elmwood owner Craig Ford.

Elmwood Medical Centre on Beechworth Road centre recently celebrated 10 years in business.

It was first established in a house with one doctor and one receptionist. 

Today it offers twelve consulting rooms and employs eight full-time doctors, three nurses and four receptionists.

Owner Craig Ford said a lot of planning went into establishing the centre in Wodonga.

“We researched the whole of regional Victoria for the right place to establish a centre like this," Mr Ford said.

"Our aim was to set up a city-style clinic in a rural area and offer service and convenience not yet available in the area.”

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Craig and his partner Maia, who had a background in managing medical centres, relocated from Melbourne to Wodonga to build Elmwood Medical Centre.

The clinic was the first centre to offer total bulk billing services and Mr Ford said it set the benchmark for medical services of its type on the Border.

“Our philosophy is that we believe all Australians are entitled to medical services regardless of their financial situation," he said.

“There has been a Medicare freeze since 2010 – i.e. we receive the same income we did in 2010, yet rent, wages, electricity and other expenses have risen each year. Even though this makes it harder to offer bulk billing we are 100 per cent committed to it in the future."

Ten years on, and Elmwood Medical Centre has undergone a range of improvements including the construction of new consulting rooms, the addition of a chemist on site and the added services of allied health practitioners such as a dietitian, mental health nurse as well as online appointment bookings.

They also have pathology collection on site for convenience.

With a cafe next door it offers clients the chance to grab a coffee and something to eat before or after their appointment.

It’s been a busy 10 years with Mr Ford estimating they had seen about 40,000 patients in that time.

“We are always aiming to improve our services,” he said. 

"We have recently installed solar panels to reduce costs and I hope one day we can go totally off the grid.”