First peek at MyMedicare

3 minute read

The government is ploughing ahead with its controversial patient enrolment scheme.

Three months to the day after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced funding for a voluntary patient enrolment scheme, the Department of Health has released its first FAQ on the project.

The document appears to be geared toward the persuasive as well as the informative, answering questions like “why should I register?” alongside “do I have to register GP registrars and locums?”.

It also lays out a rough timeline for the scheme, which is to be called MyMedicare.

While it stresses that registration for practices and prescribers will be voluntary, the DoH now confirms that access to the new long telehealth rebate will be restricted to registered practices and patients come November 1.

From July next year, practices and patients who are not registered for MyMedicare will not be eligible for two new incentives, one for general practice in aged care and one for frequent hospital users.

It’s understood that the existing aged care incentive, which is funded under the Practice Incentives Program, will cease to exist beyond July 2024, making the new MyMedicare incentive the only aged care incentive from that point.

The new aged care incentive kicks off in August 2024 and will reward GPs who provide care to patients in residential care with a pre-determined “quality bundle of care”.

This will include regular face-to-face consults with the patient at the residential facility itself.

Granular details on what services will form the “quality bundle”, as well as the amount of the payment itself, have not been released.

The section of the DoH document looking at frequent hospital user incentive is similarly scant on practical detail.

“The incentive payment will enable the provision of comprehensive, multidisciplinary team care tailored to each patient’s needs to improve chronic disease management and deliver better outcomes for patients,” the document reads.

“The funding per patient, criteria for payment and recipient of the payment will be developed through a codesign process with stakeholders in FY2023-24.”

The only firm detail on the frequent hospital user incentive is that it will commence from July 2024 and will initially be limited to nine primary health network regions, then expanded nationwide over three years.

Other practical details included in the FAQ document are that temporary doctors like GP registrars and locums will have to be registered with MyMedicare at each specific practice to access any of the payments or services (e.g. long telehealth items) linked with the scheme.

The document concludes with the message that “general practice is the backbone of our health system” and that MyMedicare will support a range of reforms that will ultimately support practice viability.

Doctors or practice staff with questions about the scheme are encouraged to visit the Services Australia Health Professional Education website and follow the prompts.

At time of writing, a search of the linked webpage contains no information on MyMedicare.

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