Key advocacy wins for GPs during 2019-20

The AMA constantly advocates on behalf of general practitioners and rural health. This year saw the AMA work tirelessly to deliver a number of key advocacy outcomes for GPs including:

  • COVID Telehealth items – The introduction of telehealth items as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19.
  • Supporting GPs during COVD-19 - Significant financial support for GPs during COVID-19 with the doubling and extension of Bulk Billing Incentives and an increase to the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) Quality Improvement Incentive (QII) payments.
  • Funding for coordinated care – Budget commitment to funding to support GPs to deliver more care for patients over 70 years of age.
  • Workforce Incentive Program - The Government delayed the implementation of the new Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) by six months to 1 January 2020 to address a range of transitional issues raised by the AMA. The WIP replaces the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) and the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP).
  • Medicare rebates freeze – The lifting of the five-year freeze on Medicare rebates was brought forward by one year with GP items being indexed from 1 July 2019.
  • Funding for GP attendances at RACFs – A package delivering increased funding for GPs visiting residential aged care facilities (RACFs).
  • Wound care –The establishment of a wound-management trial to run from 1 December 2019 to 30 June 2022 to test models of care for chronic wound management.
  • PIP Quality Improvement Incentive – Secured additional funding to support the PIPQI Incentive which was announced in the 2018-19 Budget. AMA advocacy also ensured participating practices greater flexibility in extracting and submitting the PIP Eligible Data Set. Practices were also given additional time to submit their first quarter data. A model data sharing agreement was also developed as a reference document for PHNs and general practices.
  • PIP Aged Care Access Incentive (ACAI) – The Government reversed an earlier decision and agreed to retain the Aged Care Access Incentive (ACAI).
  • Pharmacist in General Practice – The newly announced WIP included provision to allow general practices to receive subsidy support to employ non-dispensing pharmacists.
  • Rural Procedural Grants Program – Continued funding of the Rural Procedural Grants Program (RPGP) including its expansion to support emergency mental health training.
  • Bonded medical placements –Both the Bonded Medical Places (BMP) and Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) programs have been radically overhauled, giving participants who take up the new arrangements much more flexibility in where they can work and fairer return of service arrangements.
  • GP training - The single employer model that the AMA has been promoting for GP registrars will now be trialled in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.
  • National Rural Generalist Pathway – Additional funding was secured to fast track the National Rural Generalist Pathway program.
  • Red Tape Reduction – Streamlined access to Medicare - The Health Insurance Amendment (General Practitioners and Quality Assurance) Bill 2020 has been tabled in Parliament and will simplify CPD reporting requirements for GPs, removing the requirement for the Colleges to report CPD compliance to Services Australia.

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