Workforce Incentive Program

The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP)

The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) provides targeted financial incentives to encourage doctors to deliver services in rural and remote areas. The WIP also provides financial incentives to support general practices to engage the services of nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners and Health Workers, and eligible allied health professionals. The WIP is a component of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy.

From early 2020, general practices and doctors participating in the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) and the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) will automatically transition to the WIP.  An up-to-date rural classification system (the Modified Monash Model) will be used to ensure metropolitan areas will no longer be able to access incentives intended for rural and remote Australia.

 

Funding Streams

The WIP rationalises major workforce distribution incentive payments into two streams and funds the continued growth of the general practice, nursing and eligible allied health workforce in primary care. 

WIP - Doctor Stream - Medical practitioners located in Modified Monash (MM) categories 3-7 can receive an annual payment based on services provided within eligible locations and the length of time a doctor has been on the program.  Payments will be made directly to medical practitioners, similar to current arrangements for GPRIP.

WIP - Practice Stream - Eligible practices in all locations can receive incentive payments based on practice size and the hours worked by the health professionals at the practice.  A rural loading is applied on top of WIP – Practice Stream incentive payments in recognition of the difficulties rural and regional areas face attracting and retaining health professionals.  Payments will be made directly to general practices, similar to current arrangements for PNIP.
 

Calendar of implementation

1 January 2020 WIP - Doctor Stream policy will apply
31 January 2020 PNIP accreditation assistance payents will cease
February 2020 Last payment under the GPRIP will occur for those practitioners who become eligible for a payment at the end of Quarter 2 (October to December 2019)
February 2020 Last payment under the PNIP (for 1 November 2019 to 31 January 2020)
1 February 2020 WIP - Practice Stream policy will apply
All practices across Australia can engage eligible allied health professionals. Newly eligible health professionals include nurse practitioners and non-dispensing pharmacists.
2 March 2020 Transition of PNIP to WIP will be visible online
April / May 2020 First payment under the WIP - Doctor Stream will occur for practitioners who become eligible for a payment at the end of Quarter 3 (January to March 2020)
May 2020 First payment under the WIP - Practice Stream (for 1 February to 30 April 2020) and new rural loadings will apply

Workforce Incentive Program FAQs

When will the WIP commence?

In early 2020, the WIP will replace the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) and the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP). The implementation of the WIP was deferred from July 2019 to allow practices more time to adjust their business models in response to changes created by the transition to the Modified Monash Model of rural classification.

  • WIP - Doctor Stream will  commence on 1 January 2020;
  • WIP - Practice Stream will commence on 1 February 2020.
These dates align with existing payment quarters to support a smooth transition to the WIP.
 

What programs will cease with the introduction of the WIP?


The WIP will replace the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) and the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP). 

Under the WIP:
  • the GPRIP transitions to the WIP - Doctor Stream, and
  • the PNIP transitions to the WIP - Practice Stream
Practices and medical practitioners that are already participating in these incentives will be automatically transitioned to the WIP. 
 

What is the Modified Monash Model, and how do I know what my practice's classification is?


The Modified Monash Model (MMM) is the classification system used to define whether a location is city, rural, remote, or very remote. The model measures remoteness and population size on a scale of Modified Monash (MM) category MM1 to MM 7, where MM 1 is a major city, and MM 7 is very remote.

Modified Monash classifications are replacing the ASGS-RA classifications, and the 2019 model aligns with the lastest available census data. Health programs will begin transitioning to the MMM 2019 from January 2020. 

To find your practice's classification, you can use the DoctorConnect Health Workforce Locator map by entering your practice's address, and ticking the classification filters you wish to apply. 


As some practices may have been reclassified under the new model, we recommend you utilise this map to ensure you are aware of your practice's MMM classification.
 

What are the differences between the PNIP and the WIP - Practice Stream?


New to the WIP - Practice Stream
  • the Modified Monash Model (MMM) 2019 will now be used for classification of eographical area instead of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA)
  • practices within Modified Monash (MM) 3-7 locations will be eligible for a rural loading, with different levels of rural loading applied depending on the rurality of the practice
  • practices in all locations will be able to engage allied health professionals. The restriction to engage allied health professionals in Urban Areas of Workforce Shortage will be removed
  • Nurse Practitioners and pharmacists (non-dispensing) will be included as eligible health professionals 
  • the accreditation assistance payment of $5,000 per practice will no longer apply.
Retained from the PNIP
  • incentives will continue to be paid quarterly and directly to participating practices
  • Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners are eligible health professionals that can be engaged in all locations
  • allied health professionals that are currently eligible to participate in the PNIP will maintain eligibility
  • Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services will continue to receive up to 50% loading on their Standardised Whole Patient Equivalent (SWPE) value
  • maximum incentive payment levels remain the same

What are the differences between the GPRIP and the WIP - Doctor Stream?


The key difference for practices currently participating in the GPRIP is the transition to the Modified Monash Model to determine eligibility for for payments. To be eligible for payments under the WIP - Doctor Stream, a practice must be located in MM3 to MM7 (to find your practice's MM classification, please use the DoctorConnect Health Workforce Locator map). 

Eligibility requirements for the WIP - Doctor Stream will otherwise remain the same as those under the GPRIP, and the pyaments will be made directly to medical practitioners. Eligible doctors in MM 3 to MM 7 locations can receive a maximum annual payments of between $4,500 and $60,000.

 

What practices are eligible for the WIP - Practice Stream?


To be eligible to participate in the WIP - Practice Stream, a general practice (including Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services) must meet a set of criteria. These are outlined on page 25 of the Workforce Incentive Program Guidelines.

Services that are not eligible to participate in the WIP - Practice Stream are
  • Medical Deputising Services (services that directly arrange for medical practitioners to provide after-hours services to patients of practice principals during the absence of, and at the request of, the practice principals)
  • After-hours services that provide care outside the normal opening hours of a general practice (this applies regardless of whether the service deputises for general practices, or the care is physcially provided within or outside the service location)
Practices must also remember that they are not eligible to claim payment for any hours where they already receive support to employ or engage the services of an eligible health professional.

Support could include:
  • Australian, state or territory government funding
  • other private funding
  • funding from other incentive programs

Which practices will be eligible to receive a rural loading?

While all practice locations will be eligible for WIP - Practice Stream payments, only those practices located in MM 3 to MM 7 will be eligible for the following rural loadings:
 

Modified Monash Model 2019 Rural Loading
MM3 20%
MM4 30%
MM5 30%
MM6 50%
MM7 50%

 

Will all practices be eligible for the maximum incentive payment?

Not all practices will be eligible for the maximum incentive payment. The maximum incentive payment is $125,000, with an additional rural loading for those practices located in MM 3 - 7 locations. 

Practices that may not be eligible to receive the maximum incentive payment include:

  • smaller practices with less than five full-time equivalent general practitioners (FTEGPs)
  • practices that engage health professionals for less than the minimum hours required
  • practices that opt to engage health professionals that receive a lower incentive payment

Practices should seek information about their individual circumstances when calculating estimated payments.

What are the health professional eligibility requirements under the WIP - Practice Stream?

Eligible health professionals are defined as the following:

  • nurse practitioners
  • registered nurses
  • enrolled nurses
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners
  • allied health professionals - audiologists - chiropractors - diabetes educators - dietitians/nutritionists - exercise physiologists - occupational therapists - orthoptists - orthotists/prosthetists - osteopaths - pharmacists (non-dispensing role) - physiotherapists - podiatrists - psychologists - social workers - speech pathologists

To maintain individual eligibility under the WIP – Practice Stream, all health professionals must:

  • meet the the minimum qualifications set out in Part D - Glossary of Terms of the  Workforce Incentive Program Guidelines for that health professional
  • have, or be covered by, the required level of professional indemnity insurance regardless of whether they are registered under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS)
  • where a health professional is not an employee of the eligible organisation or practice, they must have the required minimum level of professional indemnity insurance coverage in their name

Practices should provide each eligible health professional’s name, profession and where available a unique identifier* when claiming hours worked under the WIP – Practice Stream. There are additional requirements for Enrolled Nurses and Pharmacists, which are outlined in the Guidelines.

*The unique identifier will be the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) ID for eligible health professionals required to be registered under AHPRA – these are available on the AHPRA website. If eligible health professionals are not required to be registered under AHPRA the Healthcare Provider Identifier – Individual (HPI-I), may be used, where available.

How should we decide which type of health professional to engage?

The WIP - Practice Stream offers you the flexibility to decide on the type of eligible health professional (or combination of health professionals) to engage, and how to engage them.

When deciding upon the type of health professional, it is recommended you consider

  • the needs of the community
  • gaps in services, or access to services, in the community
  • the eligible health professionals that will support your practice to deliver team-based and multi-disciplinary care

Examples of gaps in services would include:

  • where particular health services are not available in the community
  • there is no or limited access to a health service in the community or access for particular community members
  • where disadvantaged community members cannot afford available private services

If you are unsure of local needs or gaps in services, WAPHA may be able to provide you with relevant information to assist you in your decision-making. Please contact your Practice Support team member to discuss this.

The form of engagement can be determined by the practice, and the eligible health professional. Arrangements may be through direct employment, contracted, casual, or other means.

Will the incentive payment cover the cost of engaging an eligible health professional?

The incentive payment does not cover the full cost of engaging an eligible health professional. The WIP - Practice Stream incentive is to support or assist general practices with the cost of engaging nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and health practitioners, and eligible allied health professionals.

The maximum incentive payment of $125,000 only applies to a practice with a Standardised Whole Patient Equivalent (SWPE) of 5000 or more and requires eligible health professionals to be engaged for a combined minimum of 63 hours and 20 minutes per week i.e. it is to support the arrangements of engaging more than one full time equivalent eligible health professional.

Are Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) services eligible under the WIP - Practice Stream?


If your practice engages or employs a nurse practitioner, allied health professional, Aboriginal an Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healthe Worker who has their own provider number, you will not be eligible to claim WIP - Practice Stream incentives for any time that those health professionals spend on the relevant MBS services.

This does not apply to Aboriginal Medical Services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and state or territory government health clinics that:
  • have an exemption under Section 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973; or
  • receive funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, or allied health professionals through the Department of Health.

Are there changes to eligibility for Aboriginal Medical Services / Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services?


There are no changes for Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, which will continue to receive an additional loading of up to 50% on their SWPE.
 

Are my practice's Practices Incentives Program (PIP) profile and WIP profile the same thing?


Not necessarily. For your information to be managed for both programs through the one (PIP) profile, you need to be a PIP consenting practice. Being a consenting practice means that you consent to certain PIP information being used for the WIP - Practice Stream. This information includes:
  • practice name and main address
  • eligibility details, such as accreditation, public liability insurance, and indemnity insurance
  • bank account details
  • contact details
  • location details
  • ownership details
  • general practitioner and nurse practitioner details
  • your SWPE for the WIP - Practice Stream calculations
When you are a PIP consenting practice, your practice IDs are identical, and you only need to update practice details in your PIP profile for them to be upated in your WIP - Practice Stream profile.

Practices currently participating in the PNIP can check their consent status by comparing practice IDs: if they are the same, the practice is deemed to be consenting. If your practice is a PIP consenting practice, it must remain eligibile in the PIP as part of its eligibility criteria for the WIP - Practice Stream.

 

My practice is not participating in the PNIP - can I apply for the WIP - Practice Stream?


Yes, if your practice meets the eligibility criteria, you will be able to apply for the WIP - Practice Stream. regardless of whether or not your practice participates in the PNIP.

However, the WIP - Practice Stream will not commence until 1 February 2020, meaning your practice cannot yet register to participate. Once the WIP - Practice Stream is launched, you will be able to register online via Health Professionals Online Services (HPOS), or by completing the Practice Incentives application form (IP001).

 

Can I still apply for the PNIP and / or the GPRIP?


For information on the status of applications for the PNIP. please contact the Department of Human Services Incentives branch on

Ph: 1800 222 032
Monday to Friday
8.30am to 5.00pm Australian Central Standard Time (7.00am to 3.30pm Perth time)

Email: pip@humanservices.gov.au

For information on the status of eligibility and applications for the GPRIP, please contact gprip@health.gov.au.

 
Practice Assist acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country
and recognises the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these
contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.