From 1 July 2008, the new ‘Aged Care Access Initiative’ replaced the ‘Aged Care GP Panels Initiative’, aiming to improve access to quality primary health care for seniors living in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs). The guidelines for the new initiative have been released recently, although further details are yet to be made available. The initiative involves two components:
1. Incentive payments to GPs that service RACFs, which will be administered by Medicare Australia
All GPs in practices participating in the Practice Incentives Programs (PIP) will be eligible for an incentive payment once they have provided a predetermined number of Medicare-claimable services for residents in RACFs.
Funding will be available on a two tiered model. Tier one provides a payment of $1,000 when the first qualifying service level (QSL1) of services is claimed in a financial year. Tier two provides a payment of $1,500 when the second qualifying service level (QSL2) of services is claimed in a financial year. The maximum payment any one GP can receive in one financial year is $2,500.
MBS item numbers that count towards QSLs include attendance at RACFs, Comprehensive Medical Assessments, Contributions to Care Plans, Case Conferences and Residential Medication Management Reviews. Details about QSL1 and QSL2 have not yet been released.
Payments will be made to the GP into the bank account nominated by the GP rather than to the practice.
The program only applies to services provided to seniors residing in Commonwealth funded RACFs.
Enquiries about this new GP incentive can be directed to the Medicare PIP enquiry line on 1800 222 032.
2. Payments to allied health professionals for services provided at RACFs, which will be administered by Divisions of General Practices
Details of this component are not yet fully known. Please check the website in a few weeks for more information about the Allied Health payment.