The Practice Incentives Program (PIP) is run by the Australian Government Department of Human Services for the Department of Health. The PIP encourages general practices Aboriginal medical services (AMS) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHOs) to provide quality care, enhance capacity while improving access and health outcomes for patients.
The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) provides targeted financial incentives to encourage doctors to deliver services in rural and remote areas and is run by the Department of Health.
One of these criteria is to be accredited, or registered for accreditation, against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Standards for general practices. AGPAL is an approved accrediting agency, as indicated by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
Practice Incentives Program (PIP)
The Practice Incentives Program (PIP) encourages general practices to continue providing quality care, enhance capacity, and improve access and health outcomes for patients. PIP is administered by Services Australian on behalf of the Department of Health.
PIP payments are in addition to other revenue, such as Medicare and patient payments, made by a general practice, AMS or ACCHO.
Services Australia indicates those looking to attain the PIP, must read the relevant guidelines for the program to make sure your practice meets all of the eligibility requirements.
Your practice must also:
- be a general practice as defined by the RACGP
- be an open practice as defined by the PIP
- be accredited, or registered for accreditation, against the RACGP Standards for general practices
- maintain at least $10 million in public liability insurance cover
- have professional indemnity insurance cover for all general practitioners and nurse practitioners.
It is important to stay up to date with any PIP changes and updates. We recommend reading Services Australia’s quarterly ‘Incentives News Update’ newsletter.
PIP individual incentives
Once eligibility requirements have been met, there are a number of incentives available. These include:
- After Hours Incentives – supports general practices to provide their patients with appropriate access to after hours care
- eHealth Incentive – encourages general practices to keep up to date with digital health and adopt new health technology
- Indigenous Health Incentive – supports practices and Indigenous health services to provide better health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
- Quality Improvement Incentive – for practices that participate in quality improvement activities to improve patient outcomes and deliver best practice care. Take a look at our news article on the new PIP QI Incentive Guidance
- General Practitioner Aged Care Access – encourages GPs to provide increased and continuing services in Australian Government funded residential aged care facilities, and
- Teaching Payment – encourages practices to provide teaching sessions to undergraduate and graduate medical students.
Rural and Remote
A majority of PIP payments are made to the physical practice rather than an individual, as the payments offer incentives in relation to parts of a the business that make up quality care. Payments are made quarterly in February, May, August and November by Services Australia via electronic funds transfer.
Services Australia calculates entitlements for payments automatically, based on information received from the practice. It is vital to let Services Australia know of changes to your practice as soon as possible.
- PIP Quality Stream,
- PIP Capacity Stream and
- Rural support stream.
Within each of the streams is three types of payments, which include practice payments, service incentive payments and rural loading payments.
For a further breakdown of the incentives within each stream, visit Services Australia ‘Types of Payments’ webpage.
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 Australian Government Department of Health’s Stronger Rural Health Strategy.
The WIP replaced the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) and the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) in early 2020. The WIP uses the Modified Monash Model (MMM) 2019 geographical classification system to calculate payments for the WIP – Doctor Stream and to calculate rural loadings for the WIP – Practice Stream.
WIP – Practice Stream
The WIP – Practice Stream supports general practices, AMS’ and ACCHOs to engage nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners and eligible allied health professionals across all locations. This is achieved through quarterly incentive payments. The WIP – Practice Stream provides:
- Rural loading of up to 50% for practices within MM 3-7 locations and
- An increase of 50% in the Standardised Whole Patient Equivalent (SWPE) values for AMS’ and ACCHOs and annual loading for practices providing general practitioner services to the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Gold Card holders.
The WIP – Practice Stream replaced the Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) from 1 February 2020. If a health service participated in the PNIP, they were transitioned to WIP – Practice Stream on 2 March 2020.
Services eligible for the WIP – Practice Stream include general practices, AMS’ and ACCHOs who meet a set of criteria, outlined within the Workforce Incentive Program Guidelines on page 25. Medical deputising services and after hours services are ineligible for the WIP – Practice stream
WIP – Doctor Stream
The WIP – Doctor Stream uses two systems to assess and pay incentives for GPs who provide eligible services in eligible locations. These are:
- The Central Payment System (CPS) – for medical practitioners who bill the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for eligible services.
- The Flexible Payment System (FPS) – for medical practitioners that provide eligible services and/or undertake training that is not reflected in the MBS.
Some GPs may provide services under both payment systems. Payments are based on activity levels within eligible locations and the amount of time a GP has been on the program.
The WIP – Doctor Stream replaced the General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) from 1 January 2020. Those who participated in the GPRIP were automatically transitioned to WIP – Doctor Stream.
Health Care Homes are slowly starting to replace fee-for-service billing with bundled payments for enrolled patients with chronic conditions. This may result in some activity no longer being captured by Services Australia, which may impact of WIP – Doctor Stream eligibility assessment and payment calculations. We recommend viewing the WIP Guidelines for further information.
For more information, visit the Department of Health’s website.