Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed the Federal Government’s investment of more than $65 million to boost bulk billing rebates from January 1, 2022.
Mr Chester said the funding would provide more affordable healthcare for patients in regional, rural, and remote areas including Gippsland.
“A new, progressive incentive schedule will be applied, that increases the value of the Rural Bulk Billing Incentive (RBBI) based on remoteness,” Mr Chester said.
“This will enhance the financial viability of practices in regional areas, including Gippsland, as well as reducing the gap paid by patients.
“The more remote the area based on the Modified Monash model (MM), the greater incentive payment GPs will receive per eligible consultation.
“The Government is delivering the progressive rural bulk billing incentives in recognition of the ongoing need to provide the right incentives for the health workforce.”
Mr Chester said Gippsland GPs face greater health complexities, challenges, burden of responsibility and more complex care situations.
“Delivering higher bulk billing incentives for rural and remote medical practices, will reduce out of pocket expenses for patients,” Mr Chester said.
“The new rural bulk billing model not only recognises the work of current rural and remote doctors but will also encourages more doctors to consider a career in rural practice.”
The RBBI encourages doctors to offer medical services without out of pocket costs to vulnerable populations, including children under 16, senior Australians and concession cardholders.
Bulk-billing doctors outside metropolitan areas currently receive 150 per cent of the base Bulk Billing Incentive (BBI) across the board (MM2-7). The new payment rates, based on the base BBI for metropolitan areas, will be:
- large and medium rural locations (MM 3-4) – 160 per cent of the base rate
- small rural locations (MM 5) –170 per cent of the base rate
- rural locations (MM 6) – 180 per cent of the base rate, and
- very remote locations (MM 7) – 190 per cent of the base rate.
This means, from January 1, 2022, doctors practising in rural and remote areas will be able to receive an incentive payment of up to $12.35 per consultation.