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Coffee with Gary: Key Industry Updates from April 2024 Webinar

In our latest Coffee with Gary webinar, AGPAL Director and Co-Surveyor Gary Smith delved into several critical industry updates that are set to significantly impact general practice. With over three decades of experience, Gary’s insights are invaluable for healthcare professionals staying abreast of the latest trends and policies.


Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Updates

The DVA has introduced new compensation forms designed to streamline medical assessments. Since mid-2023, these forms have been available and can be accessed via the DVA provider forms page. Practice managers and clinicians are encouraged to adopt these forms promptly.


Chronic Wound Consumables Scheme

Exciting developments in wound care include Wounds Australia and the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) being approved for grants related to improving and understanding wound care. Wounds Australia will receive a substantial $2 million for a national education awareness program, and over $1 million in scholarships has been allocated to nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers to enhance their primary care skills in wound management. These initiatives are crucial steps towards improving chronic disease management and wound care education.


RACGP Pre-Budget Submissions

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has made several key recommendations in their pre-budget submissions for 2024/25. These proposals aim to address critical areas in general practice:

  • Supporting Future GPs: Ensuring Australia has an adequate number of GPs by increasing support for GP registrars. This includes providing incentives and funding for training programmes, thereby securing the future workforce.
  • Strengthening Medicare: Enhancing access to primary care for all Australians through significant planned investments in the Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) over the next five years. This includes a bundled payment system to support the care of older Australians with multiple comorbidities, as well as all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients over 55 years. Additionally, there is a focus on expanding eligibility for Medicare Health Assessment Items.
  • Promoting Equitable Health Outcomes: Achieving equitable health outcomes through research-informed preventative health and healthcare. This involves establishing a national practice-based research network and investing in RACGP guidelines and initiatives aimed at supporting preventative health measures.


These recommendations underscore RACGP’s commitment to strengthening the general practice sector and ensuring comprehensive, accessible, and equitable healthcare for all Australians.


Scope of Practice Review

An ongoing Scope of Practice review is addressing several critical areas including legislation, employer practice, education, training, funding policy, and technology. Currently in its second round, this comprehensive review is essential for understanding the evolving landscape of general practice. Providers are urged to stay informed about these reviews to understand potential changes and prepare for their implementation.


Telstra Health Transition

Telstra Health has announced its sale of Argus to HealthLink, effective from 2 August 2024. This transition is expected to bring changes, and providers are advised to stay informed about potential impacts on secure messaging services.


Rural Workforce Incentive Programme

The Workforce Incentive Programme (WIP) continues to support rural practices, with recent updates to payment structures. Practices in Modified Monash (MM) 3-7 areas should ensure compliance with the latest guidelines to maximise benefits.


Commemorative Medicare Cards

From 1 February 2024, Services Australia will issue newly designed commemorative Medicare cards. This initiative aims to celebrate Medicare’s impact and provide updated identification options for patients.


Medical Costs Finder Tool

The Medical Costs Finder tool is now available to help patients understand the costs of medical specialist services across Australia. Healthcare providers are encouraged to refer patients to this resource to enhance transparency and financial planning.


My Health Record Training

Under Rule 42, My Health Record training is now more accessible with several training modules provided by the Australian Digital Health Agency. These modules are designed to ensure staff are fully compliant with the necessary regulations. Healthcare providers are strongly encouraged to utilise these resources to meet the compliance requirements of Rule 42.


New PBS Prescription Stationery Procedures

The new procedures for ordering PBS prescription stationery through Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) are now in effect. Providers must ensure they have their Provider Digital Access (PRODA) to utilise this service efficiently.


Gary’s insightful discussion highlights the importance of staying informed about these developments.


For those who missed the webinar or would like to revisit the information, watch the Industry Updates webinar below. AGPAL clients can watch the full Coffee with Gary webinar via Accreditation Hub. Be sure to sign up to be notified about upcoming AGPAL webinars to support your accreditation journey.