RACGP to host MyMedicare webinars

Jolyon Attwooll

30/08/2023 2:29:36 PM

GPs’ questions will be answered at the events, which will include representatives from the college and the Department of Health and Aged Care.

RACGP to host MyMedicare webinars
Registrations for MyMedicare open in October, with general practices already able to sign up..

With patient registrations due to open in October, two webinars will be held over the next week to help GPs understand the new MyMedicare voluntary patient registration (VPR) program.
Representatives from the college and the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoH) will participate in the webinars, to be held on 31 August and 4 September, to explain the details that have been confirmed so far and answer GPs’ questions on how the scheme will work.
General practices have been able to register for MyMedicare since July. Work to determine the scheme’s finer details has been ongoing, with the RACGP providing feedback on the preferred approach.

‘The Department has explicitly said this is not a capitation model, that fee-for-service remains central – and that MyMedicare is to provide extra support for the work of general practice,’ RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins told newsGP.
‘As a practice owner myself, I know many GPs have a lot of questions about how this is going to work in reality, and these webinars will be an excellent opportunity to work through these properly before patient registration opens.’
Some details on eligibility have been confirmed. Most patients will need to have made two face-to-face visits to the practice within the past two years to register, with exemptions for vulnerable groups of patients including people experiencing homelessness or domestic and family violence.
The DoH has indicated that practices will not be paid for registering patients and is due to publish further details on patient eligibility in September. 
For Dr Higgins, both GPs and patients will need to understand the advantages of the scheme when it opens, particularly given signing up will be voluntary.
‘There’s never going to be a better chance to tell people what they’ll get out of MyMedicare than when it is launched,’ she said.
Under the scheme, announced in the recent Federal Budget, registered patients will be eligible for longer MBS-funded telehealth calls with their usual GP or general practice.
Triple bulk-billing incentives for longer telehealth consultations will also be available for children under 16 as well as pensioners and concession card holders who sign up.
General practices registered for MyMedicare will in turn be able to access more information about their regular patients, have a better understanding of who their active patients are, and provide the longer telehealth items.
A General Practice in Aged Care Incentive is also due to start mid next year to support health assessments, care plans and GP visits to residential aged care homes.
The DoH has said practices should register with MyMedicare to be eligible for a Frequent Hospital Users Incentive in the future.
Designed to help patients with chronic conditions connect to a general practice for ‘comprehensive, multidisciplinary care’, it aims to help reduce the burden on hospitals. It is likely to involve a $2000 incentive in the first year, with the exact details to be confirmed with stakeholders this financial year, according to the DoH.
The Frequent Hospital Users Incentive is due to start in nine Primary Health Networks in 2024–25, then expand nationally over the following three years.
MyMedicare will mean that from November 2024 participating patients will only be able to access chronic disease management items from their registered GP.
Patients who do not register for MyMedicare will still be able to access the items through their usual GP.
To be part of the scheme, general practices will need to provide Medicare-funded services and be accredited according to the National General Practice Accreditation Scheme. Non-accredited practices have a year’s grace to gain accreditation.
The MyMedicare program, which was one of the flagship announcements of the Federal Budget, came in response to the Strengthening Medicare taskforce report with $19.7 million allocated to it over four years in the 2023–24 Federal Budget.
The RACGP has cautiously welcomed the prospect of VPR since 2015, but has consistently stated that the initiative must not compromise fee-for-service care.
VPR had been scheduled to launch previously, but a previous incarnation was delayed in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The scheme was first named as MyMedicare in April this year.
Dr Higgins says the college will continue advocating for a system that best suits patient-centred care within general practice.
‘The devil, as always, is in the detail, and we are working closely with the Government to make sure the model is the one that allows GPs to do our vital work best,’ she said.
The RACGP webinars, run in partnership with the Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM) will take place on 31 August and 4 September from 7.00 8.30 pm. They will feature a broad overview of MyMedicare and its goals, as well as a presentation from the DoH, and a Q&A.
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Dr Christopher Jacobs   31/08/2023 8:12:33 AM

So far I fail to see the benefit of this programme. Longer telehealth consults? I cannot recall ever spending longer than 20 mins with a patient on the phone. As for the rest of it, there are no details, it's all flowery politik language with zero substance. Without any actual information I think a lot of practitioners will hesitate to sign up to this.

Dr Nicholas Peter Sawyer   31/08/2023 8:19:57 PM

I absolutely agree with Dr Jacobs. But if a Practice doesn't register for MyMedicare a Practice up the road, who saw your patient on 2 occasions last year for a prescription request, will and they will then claim the rights to a GPMP.

Dr Lise Susan Legault   3/09/2023 12:17:54 PM

Will the patients register with one provider ( GP) or with the clinic that GP works at. Will this have implications for payroll tax?