The Practice Incentives Program (PIP), is an Australian Government incentive introduced by the Department of Health Services. Its purpose is to support general practice activities that encourage improved health care for patients. This includes improving the quality of care and ease of access to health services amongst other things. The PIP payment is generally made to the service entity on a quarterly basis and is based on information provided by the practice.
There are currently 11 incentives that form the PIP, as seen below. Practices can choose to apply for all or some of the incentives. You can read each individual Practice Incentive Programs Guidelines by clicking here
- Asthma Incentive
- Indigenous Health Incentive
- After Hours Incentive
- Procedural General Practitioner Payment
- Cervical Screening Incentive
- Quality Prescribing Incentive
- Diabetic Incentive
- Rural Loading Incentive
- eHealth Incentive
- Teaching Payment
- General Practitioner Aged Care Access Incentive
Information current as at January 2018
In order for a practice to qualify for the incentive programs there are a number of eligibility requirements including accreditation, registration and insurance. In addition to this, the eligibility requirement of each incentive must be maintained for each quarter the incentive is paid. Each May, an annual confirmation statement will be sent to the practice and must be completed to remain eligible.
Under the scheme, entities can spend their payment as they see fit, however it is intended to support the practice in growing their business through purchase of new equipment, upgrading facilities or staff bonuses or wages. Be mindful that the usual taxation rules apply. For more details on the eligibility requirements see this link
What is the Practice Nurse Incentive Program?
The Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) is also managed by the Department of Human Services and takes over from the PIP Practice Nurse Incentive and 6 Medicare Benefits Schedule practice nurse items. The aim of the program is to support eligible nurses, health workers, practitioners and allied health professionals to expand and enhance their role in general practice, particularly in areas of greatest need and in-demand activities. PNIP provides funding to practices that employ practice nurses and/or Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs). The funding can be used for any purpose included to offset the wages/salaries of these employees
PNIP also supports Aboriginal Medical services and Aboriginal Community Health services to employ an allied health professional (such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist).
The incentive payments available to claim will differ from practice to practice, and from one payment period to the next. Under PNIP there are three types of payments available.
- Incentive Payment
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs Loading
- Accreditation Assistance Payment
There are various criteria a practice must satisfy in order to be eligible. These can be found here
How to apply
There are two ways that applications can be made.
- If the practice has a Medical Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) individual certificate, the application can be made online directly through Health Professionals Online Services (HPOS). A PKI can be obtained when registering for HPOS.
- By completing and faxing a copy of the form, along with confirmation of accreditation to the department of Health Services. This form can be obtained online through their website, or it can be found here