Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) 
financial assistance for primary care.

Page last updated: 1:50pm, 30 April 2020

A number of Commonwealth Government support measures are now in place to support primary health care providers throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Primary Care Package: Practice Incentives Program and Workforce Incentive Program

On 30 March 2020 the Commonwealth Government announced temporary increases to incentive payments for general practices. This will increase support for bulk billed services and ensure patients keep access to essential face-to-face care.

  • The Practice Incentives Program Quality Improvement (PIP QI) Incentive has been temporarily amended to provide greater support to general practice business continuity during this time. The new measure has resulted in a 100 per cent increase (for two quarters) to the funding per Standard Whole Patient Equivalent (SWPE) rate received by practices participating under the PIP QI.
  • Participating practices will now receive $10 per SWPE (increased from $5 per SWPE), and the quarterly payment cap has been raised from $12,500 per quarter to $25,000 per quarter.
  • There is a requirement for practices to continue to offer face-to-face consultations as an eligibility requirement for the increased payments. This will be monitored though MBS claims data. It is expected that practices will remain open for face-to-face consultations for at least four hours per business day.

Please read the latest fact sheet for more information on:

  • Submission of data to the PHN (for practices participating in PIP QI)
  • PIP Electronic Health (eHealth) Incentive
  • Workforce Incentive Program
  • Payment processes and contacts

(External link)

Workforce Incentive Program: Practice Stream May 2020 quarterly payment arrangements

The Commonwealth Department of Health recognises that general practices, Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations across Australia have been impacted by COVID-19. We are keen to support you to ensure business continuity.

Reminder to confirm your Quarterly Confirmation Statement to ensure you receive your incentive payment

Participating practices should have received (or will do so shortly if you’ve elected to receive a printed copy) their Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) – Practice Stream Quarterly Confirmation Statement (QCS) for the calculation month of May 2020.

Due to the transition from the Practice Nurse Incentive Payment to the WIP – Practice Stream, automatic payments based on last quarter’s participation information will not be possible. Given this, practices continue to be required to review the information contained in their QCS and submit a response to Services Australia by 30 April 2020.

This information is required to confirm your practice’s ongoing eligibility for the WIP - Practice Stream and ensure your payment is accurate. Practices can either:

  • Submit your response (confirming and/or updating your practice details) online through Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) using your Provider Digital Access (PRODA)* account by 30 April 2020 to receive your incentive payment on time; or
  • submit your response after this date to receive a delayed payment

*If you are not able to do this through HPOS please refer to the alternative method outlined in your QCS.

Whilst we recognise the impacts of COVID-19 on the day-to-day operations of general practices, it is important that you confirm your QCS details, to ensure that you receive your May 2020 quarterly incentive payment.

Accreditation:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) is maintaining the accreditation status for accreditation to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for general practices, effective immediately. This means that if a general practice holds accreditation as at 25 March 2020, this accreditation will be maintained during the response phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Practices that had a gap in accreditation before 25 March 2020 will need to contact their accrediting agency to submit an application for extension through the Commission.

Further explanatory information is available at safetyandquality.gov.au or via the Advice Centre. Please email your query to accreditation@safetyandquality.gov.au and include your contact number.  A member of the Advice Centre will then contact you as soon as practical.

Further information

You can call Services Australia on 1800 222 032 (call charges may apply) or email: wippractice@humanservices.gov.au

Cash payments for small and medium-sized businesses

The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payment is available to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and non-profits (including charities). Businesses can receive up to $100,000 to cover the cost of rent, bills and employee wages and salaries.

More information

Support for business asset investment

The Government has provided incentives to encourage businesses with a turnover of less than $500m to spend by:

  • Increasing instant asset write-offs by lifting the threshold to $150,000 (from $30,000) until June 2020.
  • Introducing a time-limited 15-month incentive to invest by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset cost.

More information

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The package also includes temporary relief for Directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.

More information

Support for lending to small and medium-sized businesses

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will support lending to small and medium-sized businesses with a turnover of less than $50m. The Commonwealth will guarantee 50 per cent of an eligible loan through participating banks and non-bank lenders to businesses disrupted by the coronavirus. The maximum that can be borrowed under the guarantee facility will be $250,000 on terms up to three years.

More information

JobKeeper payment

The JobKeeper payment is a new wage subsidy. Eligible businesses will receive $1500 per fortnight, per employee, from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Each business will then pay each eligible employee the flat payment.

  • The subsidy will apply to both full-time and part-time workers.
  • Sole-traders and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months will also be eligible, as will workers from New Zealand on 444 visas and migrants who are currently eligible for JobSeeker (formerly NewStart) payments or Youth Allowance.
  • It will be paid to businesses from 1 May 2020 but will be backdated to the end of March.
  • Apply for the payment at ato.gov.au
GP clinics to get free NBN boost for telehealth

NBN Co is supporting the delivery of enhanced telehealth services by upgrading Australian GP clinics to 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload connections at no extra cost for a period of six months. This will enable clinics to deliver multiple telehealth consultations simultaneously following the major expansion of telehealth delivery.

 More information

Other resources

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