Higher Medicare rebates for GPs who bulk bill
The Commonwealth Government will extend its Medicare bulk billing incentive payment to include GPs in outer-metropolitan areas with lower than average bulk billing rates.
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16 August 2004
Higher Medicare rebates for GPs who bulk billThe Commonwealth Government will extend its Medicare bulk billing incentive payment to include GPs in outer-metropolitan areas with lower than average bulk billing rates.
The government will spend an additional $24 million a year on this initiative to further support GPs in areas of workforce shortage and increase bulk billing incentives.
From September 1, doctors in outer-metropolitan areas with below average bulk-billing rates and below average doctor-to-population ratios will be eligible for an extra $7.50 for bulk billing Commonwealth concession card holders and children under 16 years of age. GPs practicing in Darwin and Townsville will also be eligible for the higher Medicare rebate.
Since the Government first introduced bulk billing incentives on February 1, almost 23 million GP consultations have been bulk billed. In the March quarter, the national bulk-billing rate increased from 66.5 to 68.3 per cent. On May 1, the Government increased the bulk-billing incentive to $7.50 in country areas and Tasmania.
The extension of the $7.50 bulk-billing incentive applies to:
- Outer suburban and semi- rural areas that are identified by the Department of Health and Ageing as areas of workforce shortage with lower bulk billing rates in the first quarter of 2004.
- Greater Townsville and Darwin because they are isolated cities.
- ACT and Queanbeyan, which have chronic workforce shortage problems.
In the areas listed below, GPs will receive $33.20 instead of $25.70 for a bulk billed standard consultation with a concession card holder or child under 16. A typical GP in a qualifying area stands to gain around $21, 500 a year through this measure.
Over the past 12 months the Federal Government has invested $4 billion to strengthen Medicare.
A list of the eligible areas is attached. For more information go to http://www.health.gov.au/medicare/news/index.htm
For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.
List of Qualifying Areas (*ABS statistical sub-division)Australian Capital Territory
Beaudesert Shire Part A, QLD*
Darwin City, NT*
East Metropolitan (Perth), WA*
Eastern Outer Melbourne, VIC*
Frankston City, VIC*
Greater Geelong City Part A, VIC*
Greater Townsville (Townsville City, Thuringowa, Magnetic Island and Palm Island)
Ipswich City, QLD*
Litchfield Shire, NT*
Mornington Peninsula Shire, VIC*
Palmerston-East Arm, NT*
Pine Rivers Shire, QLD*
Southern Adelaide, SA*
South Eastern Outer Melbourne, VIC*
South West Metropolitan (Perth), WA*
Yarra Ranges Shire Part A, VIC*