By now you are probably aware of the newly announced Strengthening Medicare – GP Grants Program. The Program was announced by the Minister for Health and Aged Care on 20 April 2023 and opened from 21 April 2023.
The Australian Government has committed to investing $220 million to support eligible general practices and eligible Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.
This commitment is designed to aid improvements of GP Practices, including expanding patient access and supporting safe and accessible, quality primary care.
What might I be eligble for?
One-off grants ranging between $25,000 and $50,000 are available for investment for GP Practices. The grants are available to assist your practice with innovation, training, equipment and minor capital works in one or more of the three investment streams below.
- Enhancing digital health capability – the idea here is to fast-track the benefits of a more connected healthcare system in readiness to meet future standards.
- Upgrading infection prevention and control arrangements – this is to support the safe, face-to-face assessment of patients with symptoms of potentially infectious respiratory diseases (for example COVID, influenza), and
- Maintaining or achieving accreditation against the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for General Practice (5th Edition), under the General Practice Accreditation Scheme – to promote quality and safety in general practice.
It is important to note that a one-off grant will be available to each participating general practice and eligible ACCHO.
How can my practice apply?
Invitations should have now been sent via email to the nominated contact at each general practice. Organisations wishing to participate will need to complete the grant agreement form and send back to their Primary Health Network (for general practices) or National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations) by 15 June 2023.
When to reach out to your adviser
- Details pertaining to your GST registration and structuring
Upon preparing your application, some of the questions in the agreement pertain to when you were GST registered from and your business structure. This information can be easily accessed using the following link: ABN Lookup (business.gov.au). Alternatively, if you require assistance, your trusted adviser can provide these details for your application.
- Ensuring the grant is used within the parameters
Once the grant is provided, it is prudent to retain accurate records in relation to the spending associated with the grant. These records then support how the grant is used and assist the practice in ensuring the grant is used properly. Your trusted adviser can assist you in tracking this for peace of mind, should your practice be selected for audit in relation to how the grant funds have been used.To mitigate any concerns, your business advisor can assist you in advance in relation to how you plan to spend the grant funds.
- Plan when to receive the funds
You may wish to review the profitability of your practice prior to 30 June 2023 and discuss with your accountant when the funds should be received – i.e., should the funds be received prior to 30 June 2023, or is it better to wait until the new financial year (1 July 2024 or beyond) to receive the funds?For example, if your practice is in a large profit and you receive the grant prior to 30 June 2023, this grant will likely be included in your taxable income for the 2023 financial year, even though the corresponding expenses may occur in the 2024 financial year. Conversely, should the funds be received in the 2024 financial year, this is more likely to correspond with when the funds are spent. This is an ideal planning opportunity with your trusted advisor prior to the close out of the 2023 financial year
If you require assistance, please reach out to your local William Buck health specialist.