The Shared Debt Recovery Scheme (SDRS) will commence from 1 July 2019. The SDRS will introduce a fairer approach to billing practices and will enable the Department to hold an organisation responsible for a portion of any debts incurred as a result of incorrect Medicare claiming.
This change recognises that there has been an increase in the role of practices, corporate entities and hospitals in the billing of MBS services on behalf of individual practitioners. It also highlights that both parties have a responsibility to ensure MBS claims are made correctly, in that:
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Hotdoc shared this resource as a guide to providing a digital marketing strategy that can be used as a reference to assist with marketing problems.
From 1 July 2019, Single Touch Payroll reporting will be compulsory for small business of 20 employees or less. STP will require employers to report payments such as salaries, lorrwages, PAYG withholding and superannuation information at the same time that employees are paid.
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A business with 19 or fewer employees could be eligible for a grant of up to $2,100 for certified small business cyber security health check to determine business risk and areas that need attention.
To see if you are eligible and for more information visit:
The Catholic Church, TelstraSuper fund, clinics, hospitals, Parliament House and Toyota to name some organisations that have been hit by cyber attackers demanding a ransoms and paralysing computer systems. Practices are encouraged to take preventative measures.
campaign and GP video lecture
‘Depression looks different for everybody’ is a new campaign raising awareness about depression and urging people to seek help.
Launching on 10 March, the campaign raises awareness of depression. This campaign features four individuals with a lived experience of depression, whose stories have been captured on film and translated into a unique artwork, highlighting that ‘Depression looks different for everybody’.
It will run in two Suicide Prevention Trial Sites – Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana, and the Mid-west – where the target group is young people aged 16 and 25 and males aged 25 to 54, respectively.
The Trials are overseen by WA Primary Health Alliance, as part of the Australian Government’s National Suicide Prevention Trial.
As GPs play a key role in identifying and treating depression in primary care, WA Primary Health Alliance has developed a video lecture that qualifies as self-directed learning in a GP’s professional development.
Presenters Dr Daniel Rock and Dr Geoff Riley draw on their extensive knowledge and experience to deliver a contemporary perspective on how to effectively identify and manage someone living with depression in primary care and its importance in the prevention of suicide.
The video lecture is available here
For more information about the campaign and to watch the four personal stories, visit www.insidemymind.org.au
If you have any questions, or your practice wishes to order campaign materials, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
These free workshops provide a useful resource for your patients living with diabetes and are available until the end of June.
Bookings are essential. To book online call 1300 001 880 or email email@example.com
Another useful resource that may help your patients living with diabetes is thiis list of support groups. These groups support each other and work together to improve each other’s quality of life. For more information please click here
Mr Morrison announced that from 1 April Australians at risk of heart disease will be eligible for a multi-point heart check-up, which will be estimated to prevent 76,500 heart attacks — 9100 of them fatal — and save $1.5 billion over the next five years. 1 April 2019, will bring a Medicare rebate of $72.80 for the half-hour service, in which a GP will check a patient’s blood pressure, cholesterol, lifestyle factors, smoking status and family history then estimate their risk of a heart attack in the next five years.
Prevention is key. This dedicated Medicare item for heart health checks will save and protect lives. Medicare access will enable GPs and patients to work together to manage their risk factors hopefully preventing a heart attack or development of heart disease.
The independent medical experts at the Medical Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce will also conduct a review with the potential for further development of this new Medicare item.
Currently there are a range of Medicare items that cover services and tests where people may have heart disease or are at risk of heart disease, including:
For more information
RACGP reports on the views and attitudes towards technological innovation in general practice. In total 1762 GPs participated in the survey, and 1220 responses were
considered for analysis. Year-on-year survey results have indicated these GPs remain optimistic about the use of eHealth technologies and their ability to improve
productivity and care coordination.
To view the full Report available click here
The Quality Improvement (QI) Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) is due to commence from 1 May 2019. The current PIP payments for Asthma, Cervical Screening, Diabetes, Aged Care Access and Quality Prescribing will cease from 30 April 2019, while the PIP Incentives for After Hours, eHealth, Indigenous Health, Procedural General Practice, Rural Loading and Teaching will remain unchanged.
As part of the QI PIP, practices will be required to commit to quality improvement activities and sharing de-identified general practice data. This also supports general practice accreditation, which encourages general practices to pursue continuous quality improvement and best practice standards.
General practices eligible to participate in the QI PIP can apply from 1 May 2019. QI PIP guidelines, including data governance guidelines, are yet to be provided by the Australian Department of Health. Further updates will be provided through Practice Connect when information becomes available, or you can register for the Incentives News Updates through the Australian Government Department of Human Services.
WAPHA supports over 350 practices in WA through data sharing arrangements. If your practice is interested in establishing a data-sharing arrangement with WAPHA, further information is available from WAPHA’s website or contact your Primary Health Liaison.
St John Ambulance WA in partnership with Department of Health, will extend the patient transfer service model to give patients access to a wider variety of clinically appropriate, medical transfer options.
Full aged pensioners over 65 years of age, with authorisation for medically necessary transport, will be clinically triaged when patient-transfer is arranged.
This new model will include expansion of services into weekends and out of hours. These changes are due to take effect 18 March 2019.
Any questions please contact St John Ambulance 9334 1222
Australian’s health workforce shortage is giving rise to a range of innovative solutions. Proposed increase in responsibilities for existing health professionals, (e.g. Practice Nurses) are constrained by existing workforce capabaility. New roles such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners have received mixed reactions from sectors but are the subject of increasing interest.
Medical assistants are trained to carry out delegated administrative and clinical assisting duties specific to the ambulatory care environment. Lessons learned thus far from the introduction of this national qualification include the need to consult widely within the health care profession in the development of new roles, the imperative to bring together health and education sector expertise, the importance of flexible course delivery and the need for clearer role and boundaries definitions. The experience from the program implementation described in this article may help inform further primary care workforce development.
Read the full article by Abbe Anderson, Judith G Proudfoot Mark Harris Click Here
Reprinted from Australian Family Physician Vol. 38, No. 8, August 2009
DWS maps are usually updated in February, however the latest communication from the Department is that, this is likely to be delayed until at least March 2019.
It’s important to note that under the current policy GPs that already have a provider number for a DWS location will not be affected, even if their area loses DWS status. It is predicted that the biggest implications will be for the practice owners that are in outer-metro, or low-mid socio-economic areas that may lose DWS which will make it harder to recruit.
New DWS boundaries will be based on the Modified Monash Model (MMM) which will replace the RRMA and ASGC and other geographic models.
The Department of Health stated that the Department is working together with the Department of Home Affairs to determine the formula for DWS. This supports other information that the visas will be linked to DWS. Unless GPs are working in a DWS, they may not be able to access a 482 visa. For many GPs moving to Australia from places like the UK, this won’t impact themif they accept a permanent position in a practice in a DWS area. But those planning to work as a locum (or on a 6-month locum provider number) or use a teaching exemption are unlikely to qualify for a visa.
Perth, Adelaide and Canberra might see a reduction in DWS locations, but not to the same degree as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. All these cities currently have much lower ratios of GP for their populations, than the major cities and it is hopeful that this is factored into their decisions.
Source used in this article: Alecto Australia
Free access to glucose monitoring devices will save pregnant women, children and more adults living with type 1 diabetes up to $7,000 a year from today, thanks to an investment by the Liberal National Government.
Funding over the next five years will assist 37,000 eligible Australians with type 1 diabetes through the expansion of the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Initiative. Since April 2017, the government has provided fully subsidised CGM products to children and young people, under 21 years of age, with type 1 diabetes. This announcement was made late last year, and effective from 1 March 2019.
To read more visit:
While it can have a significant impact on clinical care, cultural background is patient information that is not always well-recorded, and practices often have difficulty explaining to patients why they ask for this information.
While it remains an aspirational, or unflagged, indicator in 5th edition, it is still acknowledged that recording your patients’ cultural backgrounds is an important process, and it can be, in fact, relatively easily achieved.
Collecting cultural background information may include recording the patient’s country of birth, the cultural background they identify with, whether English is their first language (and if not, what their preferred language is), and determining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status (note that this has its own indicator, C7.1E, in the Standards). The simplest way to obtain this information is by using your patient registration form, encouraging patients to provide this information when they first attend your practice.
Where patients are unsure as to the purpose of providing this information, it is important that your staff can explain why knowing such information helps the practice to provide the best healthcare to the individual. Understanding a patient’s cultural background assists the practitioner in monitoring for, or managing, certain health conditions to which a patient may be predisposed. It can also assist staff to anticipate additional needs, such as arranging an interpreter service for patients who do not speak the primary language of the practice staff or knowing that the patient will have a third party accompanying them in the consultation.
If, as part of collecting cultural background information of your patients, you identify that you have many patients from a similar background, you may wish to provide translated resources (such as the practice information sheet, or other patient health brochures) in the languages commonly spoken by your patients (Indicator C1.4C). All practices should provide their clinical teams with access to translating and interpreting services, such as TIS National (www.tisnational.gov.au) to ensure that qualified medical interpreters can be accessed for patients who do not speak the primary language of the clinician (Indicator C1.4A).
Cultural background may also be recorded as a component of the patient health summary, under social history (Indicator QI2.1B). Again, this is recorded, where relevant, to determine if there are any increased risks of specific health issues, or challenges to accessing care.
Practices are sometimes concerned about how to appropriately ask for this information in their patient registration forms, and the RACGP provides a new patient registration form template that offers an example of how the questions might be presented. Remember that there are often non-compliances identified in the older patient health records, in which case you may need to consider a method for updating this information for all patients, not just those registering with your practice for the first time.
Practice Assist provides a poster that can be downloaded, printed and displayed to help explain the purpose of recording cultural background. Practices in Western Australia who are supported by a WA Primary Health Alliance Primary Health Liaison can also request an A3 size hard copy.
RACGP Standards for general practices 5th ed Indicator C7.1F
RACGP Sample new patient registration form
Practice Assist Cultural Background poster
Direct acting antiviral medications (DAAs) for treating the hepatitis C virus were listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as s85 and s100 medications in March 2016. This ground-breaking decision enabled general practitioners (GPs) to initiate these highly effective and well tolerated treatments.
In Western Australia, treatment uptake rates are lower than other Australian jurisdictions with only 22 per cent of the affected population initiating hepatitis C treatment to March 2018, equivalent to 4 560 individuals. However, in this time period, GPs were responsible for 30 per cent of the prescriptions written for hepatitis C DAAs in Western Australia, amongst the highest proportion of GP prescribing for all Australian states and territories.
As treatment in primary care is suitable for most people living with hepatitis C, GPs have an essential role to play if targets for eliminating hepatitis C as a public health threat are to be met by 2030.
To show their commitment to ending hepatitis C, GPs are encouraged to sign the pledge on the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) website, which calls for GPs to raise the proportion of DAA scripts being written by GPs to 75 per cent by 2025. Sign the pledge here: https://www.ashm.org.au/HCV/aus-gps-end-hep-c/
For more information and support with prescribing hepatitis C treatment, please contact Annette Fraser, the GP Liaison Nurse at Hepatitis WA, on 9227 6545 or GPproject@hepatitiswa.com.au .
The Chief Medical Officer has released a statement to the general public regarding the 2019 influenza vaccines. The statement contains information about the vaccines being supplied under the National Immunisation Program (NIP), including four quadrivalent vaccines for people aged under 65 years and one enhanced trivalent vaccine for those aged 65 years and over. Those eligible for a free influenza vaccine under the NIP include people 65 years and over, pregnant women, those who suffer chronic conditions and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People from six months of age.
The statement is available at the Department of Health website.
New Cancer Council Australia bowel cancer screening campaign
Cancer Council Australia is launching a new nationwide campaign to increase participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). This campaign is thanks to $10 million dollars received from the Federal Government to encourage more Australians to screen.
Bowel cancer is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer, yet if detected early, 90 per cent of cases can be successfully treated. The NBCSP is one of Australia’s most important public health programs. The program has the potential to prevent 83,800 bowel cancer deaths by 2040 if program participation increases to 60%. In 2016-2017, only 41.3% of eligible Australians participated in the NBCSP.
This campaign will consist of three bursts of mass media activity in 2019. The first burst went live on Sunday 3 March and will run for seven weeks. As a result, your practice is likely to receive more enquiries from patients.
Australians aged 50-74 will be targeted through TV, radio, outdoor, and digital advertising and to encourage them to do the at-home test when they receive it in the mail.
You are integral to the success of this campaign and the NBCSP. Evidence shows that a recommendation by a primary health care provider is a key motivator to screen. You can promote participation through:
Moving Pictures is a project by the National Ageing Research Institute which aims to raise awareness about dementia for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
Many people from CALD communities face linguistic and cultural barriers to the timely detection and diagnosis of dementia, often resulting in delayed treatment and unnecessary stress for people and their families. To address this, the Moving Pictures team has co-produced 15 short films with people from Hindi-, Tamil-, Mandarin-, Cantonese and Arabic-speaking communities. The films feature stories from carers of people living with dementia and expert views of key service providers. Based on the films, in-language comics have also been produced.
The resources provide information about the signs of dementia, seeking support for dementia care, and connecting with others managing dementia within their communities. The project was launched on February 22, 2019 at ACMI, Melbourne. The films and comics are freely accessible on our website, movingpictures.org.au.
For questions or to order hard-copy comics please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The My Health Record Team will be travelling to the Wheatbelt from 18 to 22 March, visiting the towns of Moora, Northam, York, Brookton, Kellerberrin and Wagin. Please contact email@example.com to request any training, information or support.
The My Health Record Team will be travelling to the Goldfields region from 11 to 23 March, visiting the towns of Esperance, Ravensthorpe, Hopetoun, Kalgoorlie, Laverton and Leonora. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request any training, information or support.
Assistance with My Health Record
For any further assistance please contact your WA Primary Health Alliance Primary Health Liaison or contact a member of the My Health record team via email@example.com
We would like to thank all those who attended our recent workshop in March 2019. The workshop provided education, knowledge and skills concerning the management of COPD and divided the content into three streams GP’s, Practice Nurses and Practice Managers. The afternoon session focused on a whole of practice approach to the management of COPD.
In some Australian workplaces, employees are exposed to a diverse range of possible carcinogens at higher concentrations and for longer periods of time than the general public. It has been estimated that 3.6 million Australians are exposed to at least one carcinogen at work and approximately 5000 cancers each year are caused by workplace exposures.
It is essential GPs have the knowledge and skills to be able to assist patients in monitoring their health, identifying potential risks and be able to provide or direct patients to further information if working in high-risk jobs with known carcinogens.
Cancer Council has developed an e-learning module to increase GP’s awareness of workplace carcinogens and cancers. The module includes sections on occupational carcinogens in the Australian context, the role of an exposure history, common occupational cancers including lung, skin, bladder and mesothelioma, and the Australian compensation system.
The 60-minute module is accredited with both RACGP and ACRRM. You can complete the module by registering at www.elearning.cancer.org.au/courses.