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Medical Laws and Guidelines: Mandatory Notification & Medicare Recognition for Specialist GPs

March 16, 2020 0 Comments

To help Australian doctors keep up with the latest in Australian medical laws and guidelines, Gorilla Jobs will occasionally post summaries of recent developments.

Medical Laws and Guidelines for Specialist GPs

Like any profession, keeping up to date with medical laws for Australian doctors is an important aspect of both professional development and ensuring you are following the most recent guidelines applicable to your professional life. Two important recent developments for Australian doctors are in the areas of mandatory notifications and medicare recognition for specialist GPs.

Happy little boy after health exam at doctors office

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) released new guidelines, effective from 1 March 2020 that outline changes to mandatory notification to encourage all registered health professionals to seek health advice if they need it.

In a nutshell, particularly for those new to the healthcare industry, mandatory notifications can be made by anyone when they have a concern that a health practitioner may be putting public safety at risk. AHPRA has issued two sets of guidelines around mandatory notifications – one for registered health practitioners and another for registered students, which are both downloadable on the AHPRA website.

These changes couldn’t have come at a more pertinent time given the current state of public concern over COVID19 and following the recent controversy over Melbourne GP Dr Chris Higgins who inadvertently practised after contracting but not being diagnosed with the coronavirus. And while there is a certain air of panic around COVID19 in the community at present, meaning some over-reporting may occur, a new set of mandatory reporting guidelines will be useful for both currently registered Australian doctors and health practitioners, while also giving registered students incredibly important information as practitioners of the future around reporting.

Doctor at the hospital talking to a nurse

In some more positive news for Australian doctors, the reduction of red tape and the simplification of recognition of general practitioners as specialists is in the legislative pipeworks.

The Health Insurance Amendment (General Practitioners and Quality Assurance) Bill 2020 was tabled in Parliament in the final week of February to amend the Health Insurance Act 1973.

In summary, if the legislation is passed by both houses of parliament, GPs’ access to Medicare will be simplified. The new process outlined in the bill will allow Services Australia (formerly the Department of Human Services) to use the AHPRA register of medical practitioners to assess access to GP rebates via an automatic data feed.

What this means for Australian doctors, and those currently studying Medicine once they graduate is that when a medical practitioner is awarded Fellowship as a GP they will no longer need to apply to Services Australia to access Medicare Rebates so long as they remain registered with AHPRA.

This is a win for both Australian doctors and patients alike as it will lead to a more streamlined, less complicated system around practice and how it relates to Medicare. The Department of Health has issued a great series of fact sheets about who may be affected by the changes.

So, if you’re a doctor or other health professional who has recently called it quits or scaled back your workload, or who has extra capacity to pitch in and do your bit to help Australia through the coronavirus, keep an eye on Gorilla Jobs or contact us today for a confidential chat.