Alternative funding sources for general practice

Alternative funding sources for general practice

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Last updated 1 July 2024

Alternative funding sources

Alternative funding sources exists for general practice and general practitioners (GPs) at both the federal and state/territory level.

Information about how to access these funding opportunities is provided below.

The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) is delivered by Services Australia on behalf of the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) and provides targeted financial incentives with the aim to improving access to high-quality medical services including nursing and allied health services in regional, rural and remote areas. The financial incentives are designed to encourage GPs to work in these areas and to support general practices to employ nurses, allied health professionals and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners and Health Workers.

Doctor stream

The WIP Doctor Stream replaced General Practice Rural Incentives Program in 2020 and makes direct payment eligible GPs. Financial incentives are paid based on services provided within eligible locations and the length of time a GP has been with the program. From 1 January 2024, a GP’s vocational registration status impacts on financial payments received. The WIP guidelines – doctor stream provides more information.

Practice stream

The WIP Practice Stream replaces the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) and the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP). Payments are calculated based on Modified Monash Model (MMM) classification system for eligible practices. The DoHAC publishes eligibility guidelines to assist practices interested in applying.

Rural advanced skills stream

The WIP Rural advanced skill stream is a new incentive payment to encourage more GPs and rural generalists to work in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia. Payments under this new stream will commence on 1 January 2024 and applications for the payment opened in October 2023.
More information on the new incentive payment is available on the DoHAC’s website.

The Practice Incentive Program (PIP) provides funding to general practices to support the delivery of continuous quality care, enhance capacity and improve access to healthcare and patient outcomes. The PIP is administered by Services Australia on behalf of the DoHAC.

The PIP consists of nine individual incentives, under three payment streams: Quality, Capacity and Rural support streams. Incentives include payments for quality improvement, teaching, eHealth, general practice aged care access, after hours care, rural loading, procedures and Indigenous health.

More information on how to access PIP payments are available on Services Australia website.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) issues three (3) types of healthcare cards to veterans, former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their dependants. Depending on the card, cardholders are entitled to have some, or all of their health care costs covered by DVA.

The DVA issues three types of cards: 

The General Practitioner Fee Schedule details the items numbers and fees for medical attendances and consultations provided by GPs to veteran healthcare card holders. GPs require prior approval from DVA for treatments not listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). 

GPs are paid at 115% of the listed MBS benefit plus the relevant Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA) or Veterans’ Access Payment (VAP), or where applicable the Rural Enhancement Initiative (REI) loading.

Coordinated Veterans’ Care

The Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) program focuses on prevention and improved chronic disease management for Veteran Gold Card holders and DVA-accepted mental health conditions for Veterans’ White Card holders.

More information on the CVC program is available through the DVA website.

General practitioners play a crucial role in overseeing the health and wellbeing of workers who have become injured at work. GPs manage and coordinate medical treatment and services and are well placed to support an injured worker’s recovery and their return to work.

Workers’ compensation systems are managed at a state and territory level. Arrangements may differ between jurisdictions. A list of workers’ compensation authorities is provided below.

Comcare is the national authority for workplace health and safety and workers’ compensation.

Comcare covers employees of Australian Government agencies and statutory authorities, and employees of organisations who have been granted a licence to self-insure.

General practitioners play a pivotal role in any injured persons recovery and return to work after an accident. General practitioners who provide care to people injured in transport accidents are paid by the relevant state or territory authority. A list of these is provided below.

It is important that GPs are aware of the rules of the relevant jurisdiction they work in. While most GPs will more than likely provide care for patients in their own state or territory, it is possible that GPs are working with patients who have claims in a jurisdiction other than their own, if the accident occurred in another state or territory.

The MRFF is a $20 billion long-term investment supporting Australian health and medical research. The MRFF aims to transform health and medical research with innovation that improves lives, builds the economy and contributes to health system sustainability. Each year, the fund generates money for medical research. Funding is directed to four (4) research themes with a focus on patients, researchers, research missions and research translation.  Applications to the MRFF go via GrantConnect, the Australian Government’s grants information system.

The Other Medical Practitioners programs (OMPs) provide access to higher Medicare rebates for doctors without fellowship who deliver services in approved locations and meet eligibility requirements.

The list of programs are below:

  • Medicare Plus for Other Medical Practitioners program
  • After Hours Other Medical Practitioners program
  • Rural Other Medical Practitioners program
  • Outer Metropolitan Other Medical Practitioners program

More information and program guidelines are available on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Additional funding is available for general practice through primary health networks.
GPs and general practices can access grants and commissioning opportunities by applying directly to their primary health network.

Further information is available on the General practice grants and commissioning page