MBS Rebate Changes for Non Vocationally Registered General Practitioners (GPs)

The Australian Government has reformed the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for non vocationally registered doctors. The new fee structure will affect all non-vocationally recognised (VR) GPs who are not participating in any of the approved training programs leading to fellowship. e.g. Australian General Practice Training (AGPT), Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) or ACRRM Independent Pathway. Rationale behind this change is that the Government want to encourage doctors working in general practices to become fully qualified GPs (VR) if they haven’t yet.

Vocationally registered (VR) GPs are on the RACGP or ACRRM Fellows list, or the Vocational Register with Medicare. GPs with vocational registration are required to fulfill the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) QI&CPD criteria or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine’s (ACRRM) professional development program in order to retain vocational
registration. This involves a combination of educational activities and assessment/audit of practice.

New MBS items have been created under Group A7 – Acupuncture and non-Specialist Practitioner items. These items replicate the General Practice items under Schedule A of the MBS, and set the relevant item fee at 80% of the equivalent VR item.

An important announcement was also made regarding Other Medical Practitioner (OMP) programs (After Hours OMPs, Medicare Plus for OMPs, Outer Metropolitan OMPs and
Rural OMPs), which currently allow eligible non-VR GPs to access 100% of the fee for VR GP items. As of 1 November 2018, no new applications will be accepted to OMPs programs. Under a
grandfathering arrangement, doctors who are participating on one of the OMPs programs will continue to grandfathered up to June 30th 2023 to fulfil their commitment to obtain fellowship. Subject to continuing compliance with program guidelines and rules, these non-VR GPs will retain their current access to higher level items during the grandfathering period.

Discussion has already started among non VR doctors and rural practices whether this change will affect their existing income. Rural practices may find it difficult to recruit a GP

GP Jobs will also become available in rural and remote areas as there is a possibility that doctor’s shortage might increase.

More information regarding this change and details about various MBS item numbers for non VR GPs is located as this link