City based GP's and the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP)

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Working as a City based GP is getting more and more difficult. With a higher number of GPs based in City locations, resulting in a reduction of Doctor to Patient ratio, great opportunities are not as readily available.

The new Distribution Priority Areas (DPA’s) in time, will address this a little, but for now, being a City GP is not as lucrative as it used to be. On top of lower earning potential is the increase in cost of living, and let’s not forget the painful commutes, noise pollution, parking problems and competitive waitlists to the best schools.

Rural and remote communities have a great deal to offer and are not always a plane ride away from a City. These towns not only embrace GPs with open arms, they also frequently will ensure that the Doctor’s family is welcomed into their community.

The earning potential for out of City GPs is frequently far higher than their Metro counter-parts. Earning potential can even be topped further by assisting at the local hospital or nursing home visits - all without sitting for hours in traffic.

Despite the great career, financial and lifestyle prospects, Australia is still struggling with balancing the ratio of GPs to patients to copious Regional locations.

A number of incentives have come in place recently to address the balance. GPRIP is certainly worth paying attention to - with bonus money through Medicare incentives ranging from $4,500 to $60,000.

The General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) began in 2010 as part of the Rural Health Workforce Strategy. It aims to attract and retain General Practitioners practising in regional, rural and remote communities and promotes careers in rural medicine through the provision of financial incentives.

In 2015 GPRIP moved to the Modified Monash Model (MMM), a classification system used to effectively target areas that have more difficulty attracting and retaining GP’s. You can check your MMM category on the DoctorConnect website.

There are two payment systems used for the GPRIP - the Central Payment System (CPS) and the Flexible Payment System (FPS).

CPS:     for those medical practitioners who bill the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

FPS:     applies to GP’s (including registrar’s) who are not billing the MBS for all of their eligible services or training.

From 1 January 2020, GPRIP will be streamlined with the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) into a single Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) as part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy. Under the WIP, the GPRIP will transition to what will be known as the Doctor Stream.

What are the incentive payments?

GPRIP Incentive Payments table

Who can apply for these incentives?

Any Medical Practioner who is living and working in an MM3 to MM7 area in Australia.

So how does it work?

  • Doctors are paid on active quarters

  • An active quarter is when the billings charged or reported to MBS meet or exceed the $6,000 minimum limit to be eligible for incentive payments

  • Medical Practitioners who bill $30,000 or more of eligible Medicare services for the quarter meet the maximum quarterly activity threshold

  • One quarter is equal to three months

  • If the Medical Practitioner moves between different MM locations, the payment will be calculated on percentages of where they have completed works. These incentives are worked out with the highest paying MM location paid first

  • Payments will be made to those who complete four out of any eight quarter period. If only three active quarters are completed in the eight-quarter period, those payments are forfeited

  • Medical Practitioners are able to access their service history tile on HPOS (Health Professionals Online Services) once they are officially registered with GPRIP

  • Medical Practitioners will progress to the higher year level after each payment of four active quarters

  • A Medical Practitioner can be inactive (not hit $6,000 in billings) for up to five years without losing the year level. If this time is exceeded, upon return to the program, the Doctor will be subject to new participant entitlements

Practising in Rural or Remote Communities whether it be in a permanent or locum arrangement enhances the skills set of a General Practitioner.

The positives on offer far outweigh the negatives and the vastness of Australia means that there is a location that suits everyone whether it be a love of fishing, mountains, beach life, horses, cultural or vineyards.

Medical Recruitment pride ourselves in being specialists in the field of General Practitioner Recruitment and we have many Permanent and Locum GP Positions. We welcome any questions, queries or input in relation to this article, any current changes or anything GP career or job related. Feel free to contact us to discuss your personal requirements and situation.