Workforce Incentive Program Doctor Stream
The Doctor Stream promotes careers in rural medicine by giving doctors financial incentives to practise in regional, rural and remote communities.
The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) Doctor Stream replaced the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) in early 2020.
How the Doctor Stream works
The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) Doctor Stream makes direct payments to doctors who deliver eligible services in eligible locations.
It uses 2 systems to assess and pay these financial incentives:
- Central Payment System (CPS) – for doctors who bill the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for eligible services.
- Flexible Payment System (FPS) – for doctors who provide eligible services and/or undertake training that is not reflected in the MBS.
Some doctors may provide services under both payment systems.
We base payments on activity levels within eligible locations and how long a doctor has been part of the program.
The WIP encourages doctors to work in rural, regional or remote areas that may have difficulty attracting and retaining staff. Locations are determined using the Modified Monash Model (MMM 2019) geographical classification system. You can use the Health Workforce Locator to check the classification of any location in Australia.
To be eligible for the Doctor Stream, you must:
- provide a minimum amount of eligible primary care services in MM 3 to 7 locations, and/or undertake eligible general practice (GP) training under an approved training pathway
- meet the required number of active quarters for payment
- have an eligible current Medicare provider number
- have provided current bank account details to Services Australia specifically for the Doctor Stream.
See the WIP guidelines for full details of eligibility requirements.
Eligible primary care services
Eligible primary care services are clinical services from the following sections of the MBS:
- Category 1: Professional attendances.
- Category 2: Diagnostic procedures and investigations.
- Category 3: Therapeutic procedures.
- Category 7: Cleft lip and cleft palate services.
Telehealth services within these categories are generally included.
Eligible services are based on the doctor’s physical practice location or outreach location, not the patient location.
You can receive up to $60,000 per year, depending on how long you have been with the program and how many services you provide in eligible locations.
The program calculates payments according to your number of active quarters. Your quarter becomes active if you meet the minimum quarterly activity threshold:
- CPS – $6,000 of eligible primary care services billed under the MBS.
- FPS – 21 sessions, each lasting 3 hours or more.
The maximum quarterly activity thresholds are $30,000 for the CPS and 104 sessions for the FPS.
Health Care Homes
Some doctors provide services to patients under the trial Health Care Homes (HCH) program. HCH replaces fee-for-service Medicare billing with bundled payments to HCH practices for care of enrolled patients with chronic conditions. This means Services Australia does not capture HCH patient care for the purposes of WIP payment calculations.
This can affect doctors who:
- participate in HCH in an MM 3 to 7 location
- bill the MBS for eligible services
- generally bill less than the $30,000-per-quarter maximum activity threshold, or their HCH participation brings them below this threshold
- receive automated Doctor Stream payments through the CPS.
It does not affect doctors who use the FPS. This is because they have to provide details of all services on their FPS form, regardless of whether the services were MBS billed.
What affected doctors need to do
If you are affected, you can opt in to a review mechanism that will include your HCH services in the eligibility assessment for a Doctor Stream payment:
- Complete the HCH self-report form.
- Have your employer or practice manager sign it.
- Email it to us within 6 months of:
- the date of any payment advice letter from Services Australia for the relevant period, or
- the last day of the fourth quarter of unpaid eligible Doctor Stream activity (if you have not received a CPS payment for the period).
We will assess the form. If you are eligible for a full payment or a top-up, we will ask Services Australia to make a payment directly to your nominated bank account.
For details please refer to the:
Workforce Incentive Program – Doctor Stream contact
Contact us (the Department of Health) with questions about eligibility for the WIP Doctor Stream. Contact Services Australia with questions about payment assessment and calculation enquiries.