2 November 2023
WA Primary Health Alliance 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.
Throughout this newsletter, the term 'Aboriginal' is used to refer to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, unless stated otherwise.
MyMedicare is a voluntary registration system that aims to enable a blended funding model that sits alongside fee-for-service while strengthening the relationship between patients, and the general practice, general practitioner and primary care teams.
MyMedicare is being rolled out by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care in a staged approach.
For additional support with MyMedicare actions in PRODA contact the PRODA helpline 1800 700 199 and select option 1.
From 1 November 2023, thirteen new higher bulk billing incentive items have been introduced for Commonwealth concession card holders and patients aged under 16 years of age. The new items are 75870, 75871, 75872, 75873, 75874, 75875 and 75876 (new general support service bulk billing items) and 75880, 75881, 75882, 75883, 75884 and 75885 (for patients enrolled in MyMedicare).
These new items will support younger Australians and concessional patients to access general practice services, targeting investment in primary care to those who most need it.
Further information and resources on changes to bulk billing incentives are available at MBS Online:
From 1 November 2023 there have been other changes to the MBS with significance for general practice. Information on these changes, including factsheets and guides can be found on MBS Online and in the following links.
With the introduction of MyMedicare there are changes to some existing telephone item numbers and the introduction of two new items.
Patient registration for My Medicare opened on 1 October 2023 allowing patients to register with their regular general practice and select their preferred provider within the practice.
Patients that attend regularly to see their preferred GP and formalise this relationship by registering for My Medicare can access greater continuity of care within their general practice, this can contribute to better health outcomes. Chronic conditions are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia, and the prevalence is rising. People living with or at risk of chronic conditions can face significant physical, psychological and financial stress impacting their quality of life 2023 WA Chronic Conditions Outcomes Framework.
Practices can access the MyMedicare Patient Registration Reports in the Primary Sense Desktop to assist them with their Quality Improvement activities.
From 1 October 2023, Residential Aged Care Home (RACH) residents can register in MyMedicare to formalise their relationship with their regular general practice and general practitioner (GP). RACH residents are eligible to register if they have a valid Medicare card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Veteran Card.
RACH residents can register in MyMedicare by completing a registration form from their GP or online through their Medicare Online Account or Express Plus Medicare mobile application. As with other MyMedicare initiatives, general practices can be proactive to assist with this process.
For further information
In future editions we will have an example of how a practice has undertaken this work and the benefits for the patients and practices.
Immunisation & Cancer Screening
This year, the WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program (WACCPP) is implementing a campaign in November to coincide with National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week (13 – 19 November).
The campaign focuses on maximising the uptake of cervical screening by increasing the awareness, understanding and confidence in self-collection.
With two options for cervical screening now available, this campaign is a strong reminder for women and people with a cervix to prioritise their health by booking their Cervical Screening Test.
Download the communications toolkit designed for you to use during November. Inside you will find:
We encourage you to host a cervical screening clinic or promote self-collection with some giveaways and print resources. Complete the registration form to get started.
The WACCPP offers resources specifically developed for WA women, including Aboriginal women. To order resources or borrow equipment for your National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week activity, please complete the resource order form and/or the equipment loan form.
With the theme “Stay Up to Date. Vaccinate!”, Immunisation Foundation of Australia (IFA) announced the creation of Australia’s inaugural Whooping Cough Day on 8 November 2023.
The day highlights the ongoing threat posed by whooping cough (pertussis) and encourages Australians of all ages to remain up to date with booster vaccination.
The campaign reminds people to check their whooping cough immunisation status, provides practical information about boosters and how to access them, and emphasises the importance of adult, pregnancy, and childhood protection.
To get involved, visit the Immunisation Foundation of Australia website.
Support Whooping Cough Day by sharing the campaign toolkit which includes a poster/flyer, educational print out, animated campaign video and social media tiles with key facts.
It is mandatory to record vaccine batch numbers when reporting COVID-19, influenza, Japanese encephalitis and National Immunisation Program funded vaccines to the AIR.
Read this latest AIR tip about recording batch (or lot) numbers on the new NCIRS AIR tips webpage, which also provides access to past tips.
With the extension of the Bexsero catch-up program, new AIR due and overdue rules for meningococcal B vaccine will be introduced from mid-October 2023 for First Nations children up to 2 years of age.
First Nations children’s Immunisation History Statements will display when they are due for a meningococcal B vaccine, and childhood overdue reminder letters will list meningococcal B when the vaccine is considered overdue.
Immunisation providers will also be able to view when a First Nations child is due for a meningococcal B vaccine, since this information will be displayed on the AIR site and in third-party software that is integrated with the AIR.
In addition, immunisation providers will be able to select the meningococcal B antigen when requesting overdue reports via the AIR site.
This will help with identifying individuals who may require catch-up vaccinations. Services Australia provides further information about AIR reports here.
The AIR cannot identify individuals who are medically at risk and eligible to receive the meningococcal B vaccine under the NIP.
Providers should refer to the WA Immunisation Schedule for details regarding eligibility for meningococcal B vaccine funded under the National Immunisation Program.
The introduction of new AIR due and overdue rules for meningococcal B will not impact family assistance payments.
Cold chain is the system of transporting and storing vaccines within the safe temperature range of 2°C to 8°C. Vaccines can lose their effectiveness if stored outside this temperature range, and most vaccines are destroyed completely by freezing.
Responsibility for cold chain begins from the time the vaccine is manufactured, continues through to the state or territory vaccine distribution centres, and to each immunisation service provider, and ends when the vaccine is administered.
More information on Cold Chain can be found on our HealthPathways and Practice Assist websites.
WA Primary Health Alliance is pleased to host and present this third webinar in the series with Michele Cusack from Services Australia.
Following on from our successful Back to Basics and Encounters and Reports webinars, this webinar is aimed at Nurses and Aboriginal Health Practitioners, and will highlight the following:
View the flyer here
This webinar provides viewers with an update on shingles epidemiology, changes to the National Immunisation Program schedule, and current trends in Australian vaccination rates.
Low shingles vaccination rates in Australian adults impacts the epidemiology of the disease.
This webinar explores what current guidelines advise regarding vaccination to reduce disease burden and complications associated from contracting Shingles.
Register here for the free Immunisation Coalition webinar.
WA Primary Health Alliance are supporting practice nurses to complete the Understanding Vaccines and the National Immunisation Program (HESA Accredited). This Expression of Interest (EOI) is for Practice nurses who require training on immunisation. Please take the time to read the information below and in the link before completing the survey.
This Program aims to equip health professionals with knowledge and skills to competently deliver a high quality and safe immunisation service. It is self-paced but must be completed within a period of 20 weeks from the date of registration. The course requires access to the internet. The system requirements are listed and should be checked prior to purchase. Animation, interactivity and audio may not be supported on some devices such as iPads or iPhones.
Health Professionals must be registered with AHPRA to apply and those who successfully complete and meet all Program requirements will be awarded a Certificate of Completion. The course costs $350 inclusive of GST. Payment is made online through a secure PayPal system. On completion of the program, WA Primary Health Alliance will reimburse the cost of the course. All claims must be submitted to WAPHA prior to 31st December 2023.
For further information on the course please click here
The EOI will take approximately 3 minutes to complete. Please fill out the questions and submit in one session by COB Friday 10th of November 2023.
Participating COVID-19 vaccinating general practices have been contacted with an invitation to participate in the COVID-19 Immunisation Recall and Reminder Grant.
This one-off funding opportunity supports practices to enhance and optimise practice processes and procedures related to vaccination recalls and reminders.
The purpose of the grant is to assist immunisation providers to promote vaccine awareness and administration of a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose, as well as other recommended vaccinations. This in turn can increase vaccine uptake resulting in decreasing the transmission of vaccine preventable illnesses.
This is an opportunity for general practices to enhance processes and procedures and increase vaccine uptake in their clinic.
This grant closes Friday 3 November at 5pm, so if you are a COVID-19 vaccinating general practice and have not received the application email, or if you would like to become a COVID-19 Vaccinating practice, please contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900) or email email@example.com
Following the closure of the COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program (CVTP), the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care has published two new resources to assist vaccine providers. These include a COVID-19 Vaccine Reference Guide and the complete CVTP module set.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Training Program FAQs provide more information about training requirements moving forward.
The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) Practice Stream encourages multidisciplinary and team-based models of care by providing financial incentives for general practices to engage a range of health professionals.
The Australian Government announced in the May 2023 federal budget they will invest $445.1 million over 5 years to increase the Workforce Incentive Program – Practice Stream (WIP-PS).
From July 2023, the maximum incentive amount for the WIP-PS will increase from $125,000 to $130,000 per practice, per year before applying rural loading. The linkage of the Standardised Whole Patient Equivalent (SWPE) to the maximum incentive amount will now decrease from 5000 to 4000. This means more practices will be able to access the maximum incentive cap.
Already enrolled practices do not need to do anything. Services Australia will make the updates with the first increased payments to occur from August 2023.
If your practice is not enrolled in the WIP program you could consider the eligibility requirements and practice stream obligations.
Services Australia administers the WIP Practice Stream and for more information see the Services Australia program page.
An information flyer outlining the WIP program is available here.
A fifth Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) for Western Australia has been confirmed at The Health Hub at Eaton Fair, that will support the wider Bunbury area.
Expected to open from 20 November 2023, the clinic will provide treatment for urgent, but not life-threatening, illnesses and injuries requiring same day assessment for people who may otherwise have visited an emergency department.
Western Australia is entering a high-risk season which includes bushfires, cyclones, heatwaves, thunderstorms, and the wet season.
General practices play a vital role in supporting communities during such events and it is timely to prepare your practice and your patients.
Encourage patients at most risk to prepare and plan:
Obtain your information from accurate sources.
Primary Sense has been built on the premise of security. To stay in top cyber shape, it uses the highest level of data security available and strict procedures to extract, analyse and manage de-identified general practice data. Find out more about Primary Sense’s in-built security features that keeps data secure and minimises the risk of a data breach, by viewing the Primary Sense data security video.
The GP Psychiatry Support Line enables GPs to pick up a phone and speak directly with a qualified psychiatrist. Access to expert advice is making a dramatic difference in the quality and efficiency of care being provided to patients.
Australians are finding it harder to receive expert mental health care. Access to a psychiatrist can take many months and some find private care prohibitively expensive. This has placed a high burden on our primary care providers to manage a growing number of cases.
Learn more here
GPbook is a comprehensive directory providing up to date information on WA specialists, including sub-specialisations and areas of exclusion, making it easier for GPs to determine private referral options for their patients.
Access to the GPbook online Medical and Surgical Specialists Directory is available at no cost, via the HealthPathways WA site.
If you are interested in accessing the GPbook Specialist Directory or want to gain access to the HealthPathways portal, you can request a login via WA Primary Health Alliance – HealthPathways.
Due to the ongoing high demand for diagnostic endoscopy procedures within the North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) catchment, there will be a redirection of referrals for Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (DAE) procedures to Joondalup Health Campus by the Central Referral Service (CRS).
The redirection will commence on the 6 November 2023. It will ease the pressure on services at Osborne Park Hospital, provide care closer to home for patients in the Joondalup-Wanneroo area, and improve wait times.
The redirection will include referrals for Flexible Sigmoidoscopy, Diagnostic Gastroscopy, Diagnostic Colonoscopy, and both Diagnostic Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy.
The first phase of the diversion will apply for patients residing in the NMHS postcodes 6027, 6028, and 6030. It is anticipated that after three months, the diversion will be expanded to the NMHS postcodes 6031, 6032, 6033, 6034, 6035, 6036, 6037, 6038, and 6078.
Referrals should continue to be sent via the CRS, using the “Request for Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Services” referral form.
Further information on the state-wide DAE referral access criteria including the mandatory referral information and mandatory referral form is available here.
Research & Surveys
The 2023 APNA Workforce Survey gives primary health care nurses the chance to let decision makers how they really feel.
With the Scope of Practice review and primary health care reform to support multidisciplinary care on the horizon, there has never been a more critical time for primary health care nurses to have a voice.
Never has there been a greater need for your voice to count in influencing government primary health care reform in key issues such as nurses’ Scope of Practice. Politicians are listening—make sure you are heard by those in power.
The more primary health care nurses who complete the Survey and finish every question, the louder your voice will be!
Plus, by completing the survey you can go into the draw to win a $1000 Red Balloon voucher.
Start the survey here
Education & Events
Register now for Lung Foundation Australia’s free virtual COPD learning event!
Join this virtual event on Thursday 9 November highlighting the need for action in early and accurate COPD risk identification and diagnosis. Hear from an expert panel on the importance of lung health, early diagnosis, and early intervention.
Breathing is life – act earlier.
Open to all currently practicing General Practice staff; GPs, Practice Managers, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers and Practitioners, Allied Health Practitioners and Medical Practice Assistants. Priority will be given to those practicing in the Peel region.
Delivered by CDMPLUS, the one day Introduction to Chronic Disease Management workshop is suitable for General Practice staff looking to improve Chronic Disease Management service delivery. With no pre-workshop requirements, the workshop will provide practical tips and step by step on everything Chronic Disease Management including:
Rural Health West and WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) are offering this collaborative education at heavily subsidised rates through the Peel GP Incentive Fund Initiative – Education and Training Support Project. Financial support is also available to eligible Peel health professionals to attend this workshop via the CPD Support Subsidy (CPDSS) Program.
Limited places are available! Register here
The Talking About Suicide in General Practice online workshops will help increase skills and confidence for general practitioners in:
This event is supported by WA Primary Health Alliance under the Australia Government’s Primary Health Networks Program.
The RACGP WA is delighted to invite you and your guest to join us as we celebrate general practice and toast to the end of another year. We'll relax and unwind with peers and celebrate the wonderful achievements of the 2023 WA Award recipients. Set at The Maali at the Perth Zoo, this will be an evening of celebrations, fine wine, canapés and catching up with colleagues and friends in the lush surrounds of the Perth Zoo.