Rural Procedural Grants – June update
In this issue:
Temporary changes to the Rural Procedural Grants Program
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, RACGP Rural has been working with the Australian Government to implement revised eligibility arrangements for the Rural Procedural Grants Program (RPGP) as part of our efforts to support GPs during this unprecedented time.
These changes include the ability to claim for online education for a limited time, and additional emergency mental health funding from 1 July for eligible GPs.
In addition, restrictions on claiming RPGP support for online continuing professional development (CPD) activities will be suspended until 31 December. Participants can claim costs for a limited number of procedural/emergency medicine activities, at a rate of $1000 per day.
Find out more on the RACGP website.
Important changes to the way you claim
From 1 July 2020, we will launch an online claims system for the Rural Procedural Grants Program to streamline the process and make it easier for you to make a claim.
As we move to the new system, there will be a transition period from 14–28 June 2020 during which we will temporarily be unable to process claims. Please submit any outstanding claims by 11 June 2020.
Any claims that have not been submitted by 11 June 2020 can be made on or after 1 July 2020 in the new online system. More details and instructions on the new claims process will be provided to you as soon as possible.
Online education eligibility
We have had a number of enquiries regarding the types of online CPD activities that are eligible for RPGP support.
There seems to be some confusion as to how the process works, so hopefully this will help:
- You can claim for any online course you completed between 11 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, and it will come from your 2019–20 financial year allocation.
- You will need to submit your claim online using the new system on or after 1 July 2020. Just like any training, the financial year in which you complete the training is the year from which the allocation is taken.
- You can claim RPGP support for online CPD activities until 31 December 2020.
Online courses must:
- be focused on emergency medicine, anaesthetics, obstetrics or surgical procedural upskilling (the component of the program in which you are enrolled)
- be relevant in a hospital setting
- run for a minimum of four hours
- be interactive and include an assessment component
- include a certificate of completion.
If you are unsure a course fits the above parameters, please feel free to send the information to the RPGP team for adjudication prior to completion.
We are working on a list of eligible online courses, which we will share with you as soon as possible. In the meantime, here are some examples of eligible courses:
- LearnEM online courses
- RANZCOG’s Online Fetal Surveillance Education Program
- CRANAplus Advanced Life Support (ALS)
I am a locum GP; can I still access the RPGP during COVID-19?
The Australian Government recognises that locums play an important role in delivering continuity of healthcare in rural and remote communities.
As such, locums who meet the RPGP eligibility requirements and deliver 28 days of services per year in rural and remote communities are eligible to access grant support for online CPD activities.
Please note, locums must complete 28 days for a financial year – there is no longer an eight-separate-placements arrangement.
Specialists are excluded from the RPGP, even if they are also a GP.
So if you are a GP with an additional specialty qualification, such as Fellow of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, you are no longer eligible to participate.
Last chance for 2018–19 claims
Any outstanding claims for the 2018–19 financial year must be submitted by 11 June 2020. You can claim for the current financial year and the previous financial year, but nothing beyond that.
As the end of the financial year fast approaches and we are faced with a surplus of adjudications for online courses, we appreciate your patience. We endeavour to respond to you as soon as we possibly can.
Grant payments do not include GST, so you should retain your payment advice for tax requirements.
Incentive payments must be declared for tax purposes and we advise you to seek advice from your financial advisor, accountant or the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) regarding tax arrangements.
HPOS and accessing your statements
The utilisation of Health Professionals Online Services (HPOS) for the RPGP will cease from 1 July 2020.
If you have previously accessed your statements electronically, you will be able to continue to access this information via HPOS, as payment advice sent to the HPOS mail centre will remain.
If you have been receiving this information via traditional postage, you will need to make a request to Services Australia to obtain this information. A cost may be incurred for this service.
The responsibility for processing grant payments will be transferring from Services Australia to the RACGP and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) from 1 July 2020. This change will not affect RPGP participants.
The two colleges and the Department of Health will have limited access to historical information once Services Australia ceases processing of payments, so if you would like to access your HPOS statements we encourage you to do so now.