Why bulk billing is failing Tasmania's northern suburbs, despite government claims that nine out of 10 Australians visit a GP "without paying a cent", will be among key questions put to Health Minister Greg Hunt during an upcoming visit.
The latest Medicare data revealed a national bulk billing rate of 86 per cent, for the nine months from July 2018 to March 2019.
However in Tasmania, the figure was 76 per cent - the lowest of any state - with remote areas outside of metropolitan cities experiencing a reduction in bulk billing for the first time ever.
Dr Frank Madill AM, chairman of the Our Community Our Care project, has been examining the challenges facing northern suburbs residents in improving their health outcomes.
With data from the only two medical practices servicing the area - Mowbray Medical and the Northern Suburbs Medical Service - Dr Madill said he couldn't understand how GPs could sustain bulk billing, anywhere.
"Tasmania is different to the mainland, where GPs seem to bulk-bill a lot more," he said.
"We hope we will be able to have an answer to this - as to why the gap and bulk billing is such an issue here - particularly in the northern suburbs.
"Yet bulk billing, apparently and what the federal government figures tell us, is common and working on the mainland.
"But we can't understand this at the moment."
Based on the concept of anticipatory care, the Our Community Our Care project is aimed at improving the wellbeing of residents in Launceston's northern suburbs - an area with some of the worst health outcomes in Australia.
Dr Madill said access to services and transport were among the two key issues identified by the project, due to expire in December.
Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer has committed to working with GPs in the area in addressing the challenges.
Dr Madill said a health forum, proposed to take place in the next two months with Mr Hunt, would serve as a valuable opportunity to get some answers.
"If he is looking at the whole bulk billing issue from a national perspective, if it's working in the big cities - well we want to know why it's not working here," he said.
"We know it's putting excessive pressure on the general hospital out-patient situation.
"People are going there, because they can't get in to see a doctor or they can't afford the gap. He needs to be aware that it is a major concern."