The main Medicare restrictions for General Practitioners, 19AA and 19AB sections of the Health insurance act can be a bit confusing to understand, which is why I thought to share a quick summary on the subject.
19AA & 3GA Programs
19AA section involves Non-Vocationally Registered (VR) Australian Permanent resident or citizen to be registered on a recognized 3GA program to gain access to Medicare benefits prior to commencing work as a General Practitioner.
This applies to both Australians by birth and for those who have become Australians.
If you are a Permanent resident or an Australian Citizen, you will be restricted by 19AA and will be required to participate in a fellowship program. Under certain circumstances, you will also be restricted by 19AB, meaning you will have to live and work in a Distribution Priority Area (DPA) location.
The current fellowship programs are:
· The Australian General Practice Training Program (AGPT)
· ACRRM Independent Pathway
· More Doctors for Rural Australia (MDRAP)
· Practice Experience Pathway (PEP)
· After Hours Medical Deputizing Services (AMDS)
· Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS)
· Rural Locum Relief Program (RLRP)
Once you obtain your fellowship and are recognized as a specialist doctor, this restriction would no longer apply to you.
Exemptions for 19AA
Are there exemptions for 19AA? The simple answer is No. Anyone restricted by 19AA is required to join a 3GA program. However, there can be exemptions for location requirements for certain programs.
19AB & the 10-Year Moratorium
This section applies to:
1. Overseas Trained Doctors (OTDs)
You are an Overseas Trained Doctor if you got your primary medical qualification from an accredited medical school outside Australia or New Zealand
2. Foreign graduates of an accredited medical school (FGAMs) who got their registration and became a permanent Australian citizen or resident on or after 01.01.1997
You are a Foreign graduate of an accredited school if you got your primary medical qualification from an accredited medical school in Australia or New Zealand and you were not a permanent resident or citizen of Australia or New Zealand when you enrolled in the medical school.
If you are an OTD or FGAM, the 10-year moratorium applies to you. The 10-year moratorium is an Australian Government policy that requires OTDs and FGAMs to practice in areas where there are doctor shortages for 10 years from the date of their first registration in Australia.
However, there are exemptions for the 10-year moratorium. And the moratorium period can be reduced based on how rural and remote the practice location is. To check how much time you have left on your moratorium, the best way is to contact Medicare.
The 10-year moratorium restricts doctors from accessing medicare rebates. You need an exemption to apply to access Medicare benefits at your practice while under the moratorium. To get the exemption you will have to practice in either:
· A Distribution Priority Area (DPA) for General Practitioners
· A District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) for specialists
Unlike 19AA, there are a few exemptions for 19AB for Overseas Trained GPs to be allowed to work in a Non-District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) location.
The available exemption options are:
· Spousal exemption
· Afterhours exemption
· Locum exemption
· Replacement exemption
· Academic exemption
· Class exemptions
· Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Clinic Exemption
These exemptions can not be applied to if you are restricted by 19AA unless you apply for the AGPT program and get a written confirmation from the Australian Department of Health.
How can we help you?
Our consultants at Medfuture help GPs with their career pathways on a daily basis. If you wish to know more about how to become a GP in Australia, inquire or share your contact details via email@example.com and one of our recruitment consultants will reach out to you.