Practice Management

<< Back to COVID-19 homepage

This page provides FAQs to assist practices with the changes that have been introduced to Practice Management processes due to COVID-19.

 

Fact Sheets & Resources

COVID-19 Practice Management FAQs

My practice was supposed to have an accreditation visit, but because of COVID-19 that has been cancelled. What will happen to our accreditation and PIP/WIP payments?

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has advised that changes are being enacted as part of the National General Practice Accreditation (NGPA) Scheme.
  1. The accreditation status of general practices will be maintained during the response phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. These arrangements will be monitored with changes anticipated in the recovery phase of the pandemic.
  2. General practices that have completed an onsite assessment and are in the remediation phase of their assessment cycle, and require an onsite assessment to complete the final assessment, will not be assessed until the recovery phase commences.
  3. Reintroduction of onsite assessments will take into consideration the lead-time for planning and preparation of assessments.
A gap in accreditation can affect Practice Incentive Program (PIP) and Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) payments, as accreditation is a requirement. The Commission has advised that practices can continue to access the PIP and WIP funding. Read the full statement here: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/our-work/primary-care/national-general-practice-accreditation-scheme.

My practice is struggling financially. What financial support is available?

  • There are is a range of financial support available to small and medium sized business from both the state and commonwealth governments. An overview of this is available from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (https://www.racgp.org.au/running-a-practice/practice-resources/practice-tools/financial-assistance-for-practices). You can also find more information in our Financial Support for General Practice fact sheet
  • The bulk billing incentive has doubled for items relating to General Practice, Diagnostic Imaging and Pathology services. These items can be claimed with the new temporary MBS telehealth items where appropriate.
  • The Practice Incentive Program (PIP) Quality Improvement incentive has been doubled for practices that open for face-to-face services for a minimum of four hours a day (or for part time practices for an average of 50% of their normal practice opening hours). These payments will be made on 1 May 2020 and 1 August 2020.

What has changed regarding the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) and the Workforce Incentive Program (WIP)?

The Australian Department of Health has implemented temporary changes to PIP and WIP to make it easier for practices to continue to manage the impact of COVID-19 and to continue providing quality care to their communities. These changes affect the WIP, PIP QI and e-health PIP payments.

Most PIP payments will proceed automatically without a practice needing to perform any additional input aside from making MBS item claims – PIP incentives that are tied to MBS item claims will proceed as normal.

See the FAQs below for more information.
 

I heard that the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) Quality Improvement (QI) incentive has changed. What is different?

The Australian Government has advised that there will be temporary increases to the PIP QI incentive payments for general practices to ensure patients are able to access essential face-to-face care. General practices that open for face-to-face services for a minimum of four hours a day (or for part time practices, an average of 50% of their normal practice opening hours) will have their next two Practice Incentive Program Quality Improvement (PIP QI) payments doubled. These payments will be made on 1 May 2020 and 1 August 2020.

Practices that are already registered and claiming PIP QI do not need to register for this additional funding. Payments will be made automatically based on MBS billing. Practices that hold an approved exemption for PIP QI are also eligible to receive the additional funding, as long as they meet the requirements for providing face-to-face services.

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-primary-care-package-practice-incentive-payments
 

My practice is claiming the Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) payments. What are the changes to this because of COVID-19?

The advice from the Australian Department of Health is that for the WIP – Practice Stream, automatic payments based on last quarter’s participation information are not possible. This is because of the recent transition from the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP). Given this, practices can either:
  • submit a quarterly confirmation statement (by the due date of 30 April 2020) to receive their incentive payment on time; or
  • submit their quarterly confirmation statement after this date to receive their payment approximately two weeks after lodgement.

My practice is currently claiming the e-Health Practice Incentive Program (PIP) incentive. What are the changes to this because of COVID-19?

For the e-Health PIP, the Australian Department of Health has advised that pre-payment compliance arrangements will cease during this interim period and payments will be made to participating practices. Compliance (including post-payment compliance for the interim period) will resume once business arrangements return to normal during the recovery phase of the pandemic. There is an expectation that practices will have to demonstrate adherence to the requirements of the e-PIP incentive. Arrangements for the 1 May to 31 July quarter will also continue to be monitored and advice provided as the COVID-19 response evolves.

 

Have there been any changes to the Teaching PIP?

 Yes, the Australian Department of Health has made some changes to assist practices to continue to perform the valuable work of training Australia’s future health workforce, while also ensuring the safety of patients, the practice and students. These changes include:
  • a temporary removal of the requirement for practices to obtain a student signature before lodging a PIP Teaching Payment claim (practices must instead maintain records of teaching and names of students for audit purposes);
  • practices may use remote arrangements (such as telephone and video-conferencing) to continue to provide training that involves medical students in patient care; and
  • practices may opt to perform 3 x 1 hour sessions across different days to qualify for the 3 hour session time requirement (however, practices must not make a claim until the full 3 hour session is completed, and the claim can be made by using the last date training took place). To avoid overpayment, practices must not record the individual dates that the training took place on the claim form. Practices must maintain records of each training session for audit purposes.
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.