Newsletter – April 2020


COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus global emergency is clearly foremost in our everyday life at the moment. We are trying to keep up to date with information as it comes to hand and posting it on both our website and Facebook page. This is an incredibly overwhelming and challenging situation for everyone and we hope that all our clients and friends are doing okay!

General Practice Accreditation Scheme

As you would be aware the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (the Commission) recently announced that all survey visits have been suspended until further notice. This will not affect Practice Stream funding – eligible practices can continue to access PIP and WIP funding … read more >>

The Commission stresses that it is more important than ever for general practices to maintain compliance with the RACGP Standards for general practices and in particular infection prevention and control measures.

We also see this as the perfect time to ensure correct policies and procedures are in place in your practice and a good opportunity to be better prepared for your survey visit!

Job Keeper Payment Announced

The prime minister has announced a wage subsidy payment for eligible businesses that suffer a significant financial loss due to the coronavirus. The JobKeeper payment will be paid to employers – for up to six months – for each eligible employee that was on their books as of 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer … read more >>

State & Territory Specific COVID-19 Information

The RACGP has updated its website to reflect specific information for each state and territory regarding the coronavirus. This information includes:

  • State/Territory specific testing requirements
  • Health Department updates
  • Webinars, podcasts and education
  • Public Health Unit contacts
  • COVID-19 clinic details
  • Local PHN contacts
  • RACGP Faculty contacts

Coronavirus Resources

The Department of Health website has a collection of resources on their website specifically designed for use by health professionals … read more >>

The World Health Organisation has published a list of ‘Myth Busters’ surrounding COVID-19 on their website … read more >>

The RACGP has posters on their website which you can display outside your practice … read more >>

Government Launches Coronavirus App

The government has launched a coronavirus App and a WhatsApp feature which allows people to access up to date and reliable information and advice.

Workforce Incentive Program (WIP)

The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) which replaces the PNIP and GPRIP is now in place. The first payment will be made in May – the Doctor Stream for practitioners who are eligible for a payment at the end of Quarter 3 (January to March 2020).

The new WIP requires practices to enter the details of each individual Health Professional (HP) or Allied Health Professional (AHP) including:

  • Name and AHPRA or Healthcare Provider Identifier;
  • Individual (HPI-I); and
  • Weekly contracted hours; or average weekly Contracted Hours currently working at the practice.

The weekly contracted hours are the standard agreed weekly hours (e.g. as set out in the employment contract). The average weekly contracted hours are the sum of weekly hours worked by the HP or AHP for the payment quarter divided by 13 (e.g. 1 February 2020 to 30 April 2020 = 369.5 hours divided by 13 = an average of 30.5 hours per week).

The standard weekly contracted hours input format is defined as:

  • “HH:MM” where: HH for number of hours.
  • MM for number of minutes.

Decimals e.g. 30.5 must be converted to hours and minutes being 30:30.

Telehealth MBS Items

The government announced on 29 March that it is expanding Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians and will provide extra incentives to GPs so they can provide continued access to health services … read more >>

The Department of Health has advised that verbal consent is sufficient for the patient to assign their benefit for a COVID-19 telehealth session. The service provided must be recorded in the patient health record.

Coronavirus and Australian Workplace Laws

Fair Work has updated its website to reflect queries about workplace laws for workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus – topics include:

  • arranging flexible work
  • using paid leave
  • using unpaid leave
  • standing down employees
  • ending employment
  • business bankruptcy & insolvency
  Refer to the Fair Work website for more information.

MBS Online

New telehealth and telephone items have been introduced to support COVID-19. Details of the new items are on the Latest News page and Temporary Telehealth Bulk-Billed Items for COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

Read our full April newsletter >>