AMA update on BMP opt-in progress

20 May 2021

Since April 2021, the AMA has been meeting one on one fortnightly with the Department of Health (DoH) Executive team responsible for remediating the range of Bonded Medical Scheme difficulties arising as part of a cohort of bonded participants being incorrectly opted-in to the reformed program. We also attend a DoH convened stakeholder Implementation Reform Working Group (IRWG), which includes bonded scheme participants.

The AMA has emphasised to the DoH the importance of its communication to participants.  This includes:

  • reinforcing who is captured by the Ministers for Health’s written assurance to AMA that no participant impacted by being incorrectly opted in will be at a disadvantage; and
  • for those contacting DOH seeking advice or making requests, that the DOH provides a immediate response that, at least, explains why individually tailored answers are being delayed.

The DoH has recently released a May update to bonded scheme participants that addresses many of our concerns.

In addition, we have raised the following topics for DoH formal consideration and action:

  • prioritisation of participant cohorts for action (not to the extent that a second or third priority cohort should be disadvantaged;
  • action time frames and cohort data transparency;
  • recognition of the needs of the cohort who had applied to be opted in since 1 January 2020 and are experiencing lengthy delays (i.e., those that had applied and had subsequently made job decisions on the assumption of being opted in within a short time frame);
  • transparency about the order of the legal steps necessary to remediate affected opted in cohorts; and
  • explanation of the differing legal remediation necessary for differing cohorts.

Through our discussions, we believe the DoH appreciates and is respectful of the significant implications for those who were wrongly advised they had completed their obligations, or were wrongly opted in, or made career plans based on a fair assumption they would be opted in within a short time frame of making the request.

The DoH is engaging with the AMA and the stakeholder group and is appreciative of our collective contribution towards assisting the DoH to opt in impacted participants as soon as possible.  We will continue to work with DoH to achieve that end.

Members are welcome to provide their feedback or request support at workforce@ama.com.au 

You can also call the Department’s contact centre on 1800 987 104, Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 5.00 pm AEDT, or email BRoSS@health.gov.au

Read previous AMA updates

6 April 2021: Minister confirms no disadvantage for BMP participants

26 March 2021: Bonded Medical Program – Important Update