Changes to the Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) – Doctor Stream from 1 January 2024 for non-vocationally registered doctors
As of 1 January 2024, a doctor’s vocational registration status will affect the WIP Doctor Stream incentive amount that may be payable. Non-vocationally registered doctors who are not on an approved training pathway will receive 80% of the value of WIP Doctor Stream payments. If you are a doctor in these circumstances who is working in primary care (MM3-7), payments will range between $3,600 and $48,000. This depends on your activity levels as a doctor, location and duration of active services within the WIP Doctor Stream program.
For more information, please refer to the Fact Sheet.
How the Doctor Stream works
The 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.
Payments are based on:
- activity levels within eligible locations
- how long a doctor has been part of the program and, from 1 January 2024
- a doctor’s vocational registration status (starting from 1 January 2024).
The WIP Doctor Stream replaced the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) in early 2020.
The WIP Doctor Stream aims to encourage doctors to practise in regional rural and remote communities. It also promotes careers in rural medicine by providing financial incentives.
For doctors to receive incentive payments, they must provide eligible services in eligible locations. We determine the locations using the Modified Monash Model (MM 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 or undertake eligible General Practitioner (GP) or Rural Generalist training under an approved training pathway in MM 3 to 7 locations
- 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 WIP Doctor Stream through the Health Professional Online Service (HPOS).
See the WIP Doctor Stream Guidelines for full details of eligibility requirements.
Eligible primary care services
Eligible primary care services are listed as 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 eligible under the WIP Doctor Stream, except for some specialist items.
Eligible services are based on the doctor’s physical practice location or outreach location, not the patient location.
You can receive incentive payments of between $3,600 and $60,000 per year, depending on activity levels, location, how long a doctor has been part of the program and, from 1 January 2024, a doctor’s vocational registration status.
The program calculates payments according to your number of active quarters. Your quarter becomes active if you meet the minimum quarterly activity threshold:
- Central Payment System (CPS) – $6,000 of eligible primary care services billed under the MBS.
- Flexible Payment System (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.
Doctors must apply through the FPS for all time spent providing WIP Doctor Stream eligible services, regardless of whether the services were MBS billed. This is to ensure all eligible primary care activity has been counted to meet the minimum level of activity.
Refer to the WIP Doctor Stream Guidelines.