IMPORTANT UPDATE: Please note that starting from 1 January 2024, Non-VR doctors, who are not on any approved training program and who are working in a MMM3-7 location, will obtain 80% of the value of WIP – Doctor Stream payments.
What is it?
The ‘Doctor Stream’ gives financial incentives to medical practitioners working in eligible rural and remote areas. This program has also replaced the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) in 2020.
As part of the 2018-19 Stronger Rural Health Strategy Initiative, The Workforce Incentive Program, was launched on 1 January 2020. Created to encourage medical practitioners to work in rural and remote areas of Australia, this program applies to the updated 2019 MM3-7 locations. Financial incentives range from $0 to $60,000 based on MMM classification and years of active service in the location.
How does it work?
There are 2 systems to be used in receiving these financial incentives:
- Central Payment System (CPS) – for doctors who bill the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for eligible services.
- Flexible Payment System (FPS) – for doctors who provide eligible services and/or undertake training that is not reflected in the MBS.
Incentives are based on the number of active quarters, MM classification, how long a doctor has been part of the program and, from 1 January 2024, a doctor’s vocational registration status.
Am I eligible?
The eligibility criteria for the Doctor Stream is that you must:
- provide a minimum amount of eligible primary care services or undertake eligible General Practitioner (GP) or Rural Generalist training under an approved training pathway in MM 3 to 7 locations
- meet the required number of active quarters for payment
- have an eligible current Medicare provider number
- have provided current bank account details to Services Australia specifically for the WIP Doctor Stream through the Health Professional Online Service (HPOS).
How much can I get?
You can receive $3,600 and $48,000 annually depending on the location and year level.
Here are visual tables for you to check how much you can get every year:
- For eligible Non-VR doctors not on an approved training pathway, here is a summary of the financial incentives 1 January 2024:
- For eligible VR doctors, here is a summary of the financial incentives 1 January 2024:
What are active quarters?
Aside from the location and year level, your activity or active quarters determine how much you can receive as incentives. Your quarter becomes active if you meet the minimum quarterly activity threshold:
- Central Payment System (CPS)
- Minimum: $6,000 of eligible primary care services billed under the MBS
- Maximum: $30,000
- Flexible Payment System (FPS)
- Minimum: 21 sessions for 3 hours or more each
- Maximum 104 sessions
For CPS, the eligible primary care services billed under the MBS are the following:
- Category 1: Professional attendances.
- Category 2: Diagnostic procedures and investigations.
- Category 3: Therapeutic procedures.
- Category 7: Cleft lip and cleft palate services.
Please note that eligible services are based on the doctor’s physical practice location or outreach location, not the patient location.
How do I apply?
To apply for the Workforce Incentive Program – Doctor Stream, you must apply under the Flexible Payment System (FPS).
In applying for a payment through the FPS, you must complete the FPS application form and submit it to the Rural Workforce Agency (RWA) in the state or territory where you provided most of your services or did your training. The application must be done through FPS regardless of whether the services were MBS billed, and must include all time spent providing WIP – Doctor Stream eligible services.
For participants under an approved training program, make sure that you fill up the relevant section to verify your training sessions.
All FPS applications must be given to the relevant RWA:
- Northern Territory: Northern Territory Primary Health Network
- (08) 8982 1000
- South Australia: Rural Doctors Workforce Agency South Australia
- (08) 8234 8277
- Western Australia: Rural Health West
- (08) 6389 4500
- Tasmania: HRPlus Tas
- (03) 6332 8600
- New South Wales: New South Wales Rural Doctors Network
- (02) 4924 8000
- Queensland: Health Workforce Queensland
- (07) 3105 7800
- Victoria: Rural Workforce Agency Victoria
- (03) 9349 7800
Note: The information presented above has been gathered from the Department of Health and Aged Care website and has been updated as of 2023-10-24.
We Can Help You
Here at People Medical Consulting, we have a passion for guiding medical practitioners through their career pathways to Australia. We have extensive experience in assisting medical facilities in recruiting doctors from local and overseas who will best suit their requirements.
We provide Document Assistance for those requiring support for their PESCI with IME, ACRRM or RACGP, registration and all other mandatory AHPRA requirements, fellowship program related forms and letters, application for Medicare provider and prescriber numbers, application for 19AB or 19AA exemptions and preparation of employment documents.
If you’re looking for assistance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be glad to help you.
Information from this blog has been taken directly from:
- About the Workforce Incentive Program
- Apply for the Doctor Stream
- Changes to the Workforce Incentive Program – Doctor Stream from 1 January 2024 for non-vocationally registered doctors – Fact Sheet as of 12 September 2023
- Doctor Stream incentive payment amounts
- Doctor Stream payment systems
- Flexible Payment System application form
- Workforce Incentive Program
- Workforce Incentive Program Guidelines – Doctor Stream – 7 August 2023