Federal Government confirms new COVID vaccine item numbers

Matt Woodley

22/01/2021 6:13:33 PM

General practices stand to receive between $65 and $74.90 for each fully vaccinated patient.

Person receiving COVID-19 vaccine.
After-hours MBS items have also been created, which add an additional $12.15 onto the support received for each individual dose. (Image: AAP)


The Department of Health (DoH) has revealed the financial support GPs stand to receive should they participate in the Federal Government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
GPs in MMM1 areas will be able to claim a Level A attendance and a double bulk-billing incentive item (totaling $30.75) for delivering the first dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, along with a Level A and standard bulk-billing incentive for the second ($24.25).
Those in MMM2–7 areas will receive $37.35 for the first dose and $27.55 for the second, while all practices are eligible to receive an additional $10 Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) for patients who receive both doses at the same clinic.
Separate after-hours Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items have also been created, which add an additional $12.15 onto the support received for each individual dose.
newsGP understands that practice nurses will be able to administer the vaccines and bill the new items without GPs being present, though GPs will need to oversee the process.  

RACGP President Dr Karen Price told newsGP it is good to have clarity from the Federal Government after weeks of constructive conversations on support for general practice.
‘From the beginning of this process, the RACGP has argued that this is not a standard vaccination program, given the clinical, logistical and administrative costs associated with providing such a service,’ she said.
‘The widespread provision of vaccines from GPs and general practice will rely on the financial sustainability of providing the immunisation services themselves.
‘Now we have this clarity, I know general practices right across the country will be doing the figures and working out whether they will be in a position to support this national health response.
‘While it won’t be for every practice, I hope we’ll see enough taken up by general practice through the expression of interest program to get Australia vaccinated and back to some normality.’
Under the plan, GPs and other healthcare providers will need to register with the DoH to become COVID-19 vaccine providers.

At present, the Government's expression of interest for COVID vaccines is capped at 1000 practices and is aimed at clinics able to provide mass vaccinations.
The DoH will use the data to monitor the vaccine distribution and rollout, and ensure compliance with required regulations. GPs will need to complete mandatory vaccine training – likely an online module – and commit to uploading patient vaccination records to the Australian Immunisation Register in order to take part in the rollout.
According to the DoH, even if the vaccine is administered as part of a usual consultation, GPs will still be able to bill the new MBS item in addition to the usual consultation fee. But while GPs will be able to privately bill for a usual consultation with a patient, the item claimed for administering the vaccine must be bulk billed.
It is also anticipated that opportunistic vaccination will only occur in specific circumstances, such as at the end of the day, and that vaccine appointments will generally need to be booked in advance to ensure there is no wastage.

Dr Price said it is imperative that any vaccine shortages are communicated immediately in order to minimise disruption to practice operations and for patients.
‘The logistics of this national vaccination program cannot be underestimated, and we need to make sure GPs who participate have regular access to the vaccine to meet demand,’ she said.
‘The profession was overlooked with regard to personal protective equipment [PPE] planning and distribution, this cannot be allowed to occur during the vaccine rollout.
As a cornerstone of Australia’s vaccination program, it is critical that GPs are appropriately recognised, supported and valued throughout the entire process.’
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Dr Nimaladev Thevathasan Kingston   23/01/2021 7:23:24 AM

Regarding the total number of patients seen/consulted in a day with the expected increased volume of patients for vaccination ,could it leads to review by DOH for the particular Dr...Needs to be clarify with DOH

Dr Annabel Kain   23/01/2021 8:07:51 AM

Misleading headline - practices will not get $65 per patient - they will get $10 PIP plus whatever percentage they normally receive of GP fee. So more like $28 per fully vaccinated patient, over 2 sessions. Practices will really need to do their sums and work out the best way to run a vaccine clinic, or will end up doing it for free.

Dr Laila Kodsi   23/01/2021 8:12:00 AM

good effort, we committed 100%

Dr Laila Kodsi   23/01/2021 8:12:29 AM

thank you

Dr James Courts   23/01/2021 8:49:47 AM

Well that’s hardly an incentive for all the additional planning needed, I await the announcement that pharmacies will get $50 per shot.

Dr Ian Raymond Norman Relf   23/01/2021 9:15:45 AM

The information is not clear enough. GP Melbourne

Dr SAN   23/01/2021 11:35:01 AM

poor financial remuneration.
I hope most of the practices decline to be part of this program as happened with healthcare homes and DOH will need to review

Dr Michael Lucas Bailey   23/01/2021 11:36:33 AM

It is optimistic to expect COVID vaccinations to be done in a level A consult. Many patients are already expressing significant concerns and the information to address these appropriately with reference to TGA Product Information is not yet available. Each patient is going require at least some
level of counselling and details in order to give consent.

Dr David Lee   23/01/2021 12:31:17 PM

Come on, not another item number or EOI from PHN. ..etc.. Why more bureaucracy?Please approve and give me the vaccine (AstraZeneca/CSL) tomorrow and I’m happy to do that for free!

Dr Andrew Robert Jackson   23/01/2021 2:06:55 PM

"Usual poor remuneration handed down by a monopoly insurer (Medicare) for a critical task (pandemic immunisation campaign ) with substantial admin and medical overhead (read the EOI published on Friday).

The RACGP has said "30 minutes per patient" for this service.

So that's around $61 per hour practice income not GP income for a doctor/nurse immunisation team (best practice) for MM1 practices.


Surely some practices will reluctantly refuse to take part and leave it up to pharmacists and anyone else that puts up their hand.

The AMA and RACGP needs to urgently negotiate with the government to remedy this - I suggest there has been no negotiation if this is the outcome."

Dr Sandra Scinto   23/01/2021 5:52:41 PM

Is the double bulkbilling incentive item only for eligible patients (ie those that are usually billed 10990), or for ALL patients receiving vaccine?

Dr Uma Bhatta Prasad   24/01/2021 11:00:20 AM

We will need to plan extra clinics for this roll out.
Not possible to absorb it in daily practice where I already have high patient demand for various other clinical issues.
I might end up spending 30-40 mins per patient !!

Dr SIH   24/01/2021 1:22:10 PM

I don't understand why the amount of remuneration announced for gp is always prior to tax and admin fees. After tax and admin fees.. it is barely anything left.

Dr David Zhi Qiang Yu   24/01/2021 5:00:36 PM

very bad information and the practice is feeling worse off to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine!!!

Dr Angela Tracy Gray   24/01/2021 5:40:57 PM

A national booking system, that has yet to be seen, to be rolled out quickly AND to be tested by our over 70’s (on average minimally tech savvy) asking us who see new patients, somehow enter enough data to meet our existing demographic/ clinical requirements, socially distance, but watch people for 15 (-?30min) and have enough patients on the premises and perform quickly enough to make the ~ $30 viable?
What could go wrong?

Dr Alison Rose   25/01/2021 7:54:40 AM

I think it is insulting to ask us to do all this - counsel the patient including answering their questions; prepare the vaccine doses (with an RN assisting) give the vaccination and monitor the patient for 30 minutes all for the remuneration of a level A consult which is defined as a consultation for a simple problem and taking less than 6 minutes!) Some will be new patients to the practice, which adds another layer of complexity.
In addition our staff have to triage the staff to exclude any already showing signs of possible Covid infection (unclear how that would happen with the national booking system) and explain that this is NOT a consultation for any other issues.
If we refuse we will constantly be fielding questions like "why can't I have my vaccine here?". In short its a poorly funded nightmare showing once again that GPs are NOT valued.

Dr James Courts   25/01/2021 12:51:00 PM

Further press release today on the intense negotiations and hard work done by all with the roll out and monies.

Was there an accountant on hand during this or at least someone with a grasp of figures, if this represents ‘intense’ then heaven help us.

Dr Devendra Kawol   30/01/2021 5:06:58 PM

That’s modern day slavery

Dr Price ,
Are you representing GPs or are you working for government ?

Dr Raymond Yeow   30/01/2021 8:28:10 PM

"........ Many patients are already expressing significant concerns........ Each patient is going require at least some level of counselling and details in order to give consent......."
I believe that consent will be done online .
Like when Facebook or whatsapp update their T&C's ....scroll to bottom of five pages ...and press "I accept" button.....

Dr Arnold Dela Cruz   17/02/2021 10:29:39 AM

What if the patient went to another practice for the second dose? Or what if the patient didn't get the second dose at all? What will the renumeration be?
If the patient is new to the clinic , we need to know more about the patient before we can give the vaccine. Also will need to fill up form prior to injection and then wait for half an hour for observation, right?.
Do we still want to express an interest, maybe just let the pharmacist do it (nothing against them - it is the government, loves them to the bone anyway).
Or we can just for the love of medicine - do it. It is still up to us !

Dr Clem Brazil   28/03/2021 12:08:13 AM

So we are back to this again. Confusion about billing has always been a sticking point that the college is not built to handle. So it can not protect us against other organizations and politicians who look after their own interests. The Federal Government tasks itself with distributing vaccines and think that the primary care infrastructure can deliver it to the people quickly and at a very low or no cost at all. They don't care if this is a new vaccine and we have to meticulously check if the patient is eligible and get them to sign forms that basically tells them that they are participating in phase 4 studies. Our time and the risks that we take mean nothing to them. They control the strings and we are the puppets. The College has no clout when it comes to this. Even the AMA, who is supposed to be the lobbying body for us, has no teeth. The leadership in these organizations will be having a hard time explaining themselves at the next general meeting.

Dr Louis Georgis Moussa   30/03/2021 12:17:23 PM

The GPS have been let down again by those who are supposed to represent them for accepting this. The govt has bombarded us with numerous letters articles webinars etc on how to give what is essentially a simple injection, at a huge cost. .Gps have been giving vaccines for decades and this is not much different , they should provide the vaccines and let the doctors do their work,and remunerate them fairly , it will take sat least 20 minutes to give this vaccine if you follow the various directions given

Dr Harshad Prabhakar Naik   7/04/2021 12:39:04 PM

Are the Practices who are delivering the COVID immunisation being funded by the Federal Government ie for vaccine fridge,laptops, venue for vaccinations etc.