Rural bulk-billing eligibility set to change

Doug Hendrie

12/12/2019 3:14:25 PM

Medicare billing incentives will change for GPs outside the major cities, as the DoH modifies the way it classifies rural and remote areas.

Rural town
Changes are coming for rural bulk billing.

While all bulk-billed general practice services will continue to be eligible for incentives, the geographic eligibility requirements for rural-specific bulk-billing incentive items in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) will change for some towns and regions.
From 1 January 2020, the Department of Health (DoH) will shift from the existing Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Area (RRMA) classification system to the Modified Monash Model (MMM).
Under the coming changes, services must be provided at, or from, a practice location in a regional, rural or remote area (MMM areas 2–7) to be eligible for the bulk-billing incentive items. 
A number of areas formerly considered metropolitan under RRMA classification – such as Kiama (NSW), Russell Island (Queensland), Jam Jerrup (Victoria) and Yanchep (WA) – will now be recognised as rural, giving GPs access to rural bulk-billing items.
Areas with major population growth will no longer be eligible for the incentives, including Canberra (ACT), Central Coast (NSW), Maitland (NSW), Newcastle (NSW), Sunshine Coast (Queensland), Geelong (Victoria), Mornington Peninsula (Victoria) and Mandurah (WA).
A locator map to identify a medical practices’ MMM classification is available at the Doctor Connect website.
The incentives remain the same: 
Bulk-billing incentives – MMM 1 (major cities)    
MBS item            Fee
10990                  $6.40
64990                  $6.00
74990                  $6.00
Rural bulk-billing incentives – MMM 2–7 (all other areas, including regional, rural and remote)
MBS item            Fee
10991                  $9.65
64991                  $9.10
74991                  $9.10
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Dr Mark Anthony   13/12/2019 8:51:57 AM

Another watering down of the importance and recognition of primary. Give a laughably small MBS indexation rise, take 4x back under another guise.
Why would anyone want to practice in these “metropolitan” areas. Time to stop bulk billing everyone and let people know doctor’s don’t work for the government., and to keep it affordable for them they have to pressure the government for more of a rebate not take it from us. When did your lawyer/accountant last bulk bill you?