The Scaling Initiative - Questions and Answers

This page provides information about the Scaling Initiative for the Bonded Medical Places (BMP) Scheme in the form of questions and answers.

Page last updated: 06 June 2016

1. What is Scaling?
2. What are Remoteness Area categories?
3. Where can I work?
4. When can I begin to reduce my Return of Service Period using Scaling?
5. How do I access Scaling?
6. How will Scaling discounts be calculated?
7. What if I only work in an area for a short period of time or work in more than one location in a month?
8. How will I be informed of the discount applied to my record?

1. What is Scaling?

Scaling encourages work in rural areas by reducing your Return of Service Period obligation based on the Remoteness Area (RA) category you are working in. The greatest reduction to the Return of Service Period will be obtained by those who work in the most remote locations of Australia.

2. What are Remoteness Area categories?

The Scaling for the BMP Scheme uses the Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) classification system, which groups locations into 'remoteness areas' (RAs).

The RA categories for the BMP Sceme are outlined below:
RA category number as used by the Department in the BMP Scheme
RA1 - Major Cities of Australia
RA2 - Inner Regional Australia
RA3 - Outer Regional Australia
RA4 - Remote Australia
RA5 - Very Remote Australia

Further information on the Remoteness Area (RA) categories can be found on the Department of Health DoctorConnect website.

3. Where can I work?

While the Scaling system will offer opportunities to reduce your Return of Service Period (RoSP) obligation depending on the remoteness of your work location, BMP Scheme doctors still have to work in locations that are either classified as Districts of Workforce Shortage (DWS) or Monash Modified Model (MMM) categories 4-7 locations.

If you are a BMP participant who signed a Deed of Agreement prior to 2016, you may complete your RoSP in a MMM 4-7 location even though such locations are not specified in your Deed of Agreement. However, you will need to notify the Department your intention to work in a MMM 4-7 prior to commencing work in such a location.

Information about eligible RoSP locations is available in the FAQ section of this BMP website. You can also check the Rural Classification, including District of Workforce Shortage and the Modified Monash Model classification of a location on the DoctorConnect website.

4. When can I begin to reduce my Return of Service Period using Scaling?

Once BMP Scheme doctors have attained Fellowship and have commenced their Return of Service Period (RoSP), their RoSP (less any periods of Eligible Pre-Vocational Training and Eligible Vocational Training) can be reduced using Scaling.

All BMP Scheme participants who signed a Deed of Agreement prior to 2010 will need to have signed a Deed of Variation to allow them to access Scaling.

There is no formal application process for doctors to apply for Scaling. If you are billing Medicare and meet the eligibility criteria, you will automatically have Scaling discounts applied to your RoSP on a monthly basis. If you work in a salaried position and meet the eligibility criteria, Scaling will be applied six monthly or when you move locations.

5. How do I access Scaling?

Whether you are billing Medicare or working in a salaried position, Scaling discounts will be automatically applied to your Return of Service Period obligation if:

  • your Return of Service Period in a District of Workforce Shortage or Modified Monash Model category 4-7 has commenced;
  • you have worked in a RA2 (Inner Regional Australia) to RA5 (Very Remote Australia) category; and
  • you are working at least 20 hours per week.

6. How will Scaling discounts be calculated?

Generally, if you are billing Medicare and fulfilling your Return of Service Period (RoSP) obligations, you will automatically have Scaling discounts applied to your RoSP on a monthly basis. If you work in a salaried position and meet the eligibility criteria, Scaling will be applied six monthly or when you move locations. The Scaling discount will be applied to bring forward your RoSP end date.

Scaling will be applied monthly at the following rates:
RA Category Scaling Discount Rate %
RA 2 - Inner Regional Australia 10%
RA 3 - Outer Regional Australia 30%
RA 4 - Remote Australia 40%
RA 5 - Very Remote Australia 50%

7. What if I only work in an area for a short period of time or work in more than one location in a month?

Your work activity will be monitored and if you satisfy your obligations with respect to your Return of Service Period for that month, the discount applicable will reflect the RA category where most work occurred.

8. How will I be informed of the discount applied to my record?

Doctors billing Medicare

You are able to view your Return of Service Period and Scaling discount(s) through The Department of Human Services (DHS) Health Professionals Online Services (HPOS). HPOS offers improved access to DHS’s provider online services and provides access to information concerning your identity, eligibility and details necessary for the processing and payments of Medicare claims.

To access the HPOS system, please follow the instructions on the DHS website at: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/health-professionals/services/medicare/hpos

Alternatively, information regarding HPOS can be obtained by contacting the Department of Human Services Medicare Program by:

  • Calling 132 150 option 6 - electronic claiming or Health Professional Online Services (HPOS)
  • eBusiness Service Centre on 1800 700 199 or email ebusiness@humanservices.gov.au.

Salaried doctors

The Department of Health will email you on a six monthly basis, or when you move locations, with your Return of Service Period and any Scaling discount.