The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) is run by the Australian Government Department of Human Services for the Department of Health. WIP provides targeted financial incentives to encourage doctors to deliver services in rural and remote areas.
Both the PIP and WIP are part of a blended payment approach for general practices, Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs). Those wanting to apply for PIP and/or WIP must meet certain eligibility criteria.
One of these criteria is to be accredited, or registered for accreditation, against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for general practices. AGPAL is an approved accrediting agency, as indicated by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
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.
For more information, visit the Department of Health’s website.