Practice nurse incentive guidelines from Medicare

MEDICARE has released its finalised guidelines explaining the Practice Nurse Incentive Program funding scheme that is set to replace a number of nurse MBS items from 1 January 2012.

General practices will be eligible for up to $125,000 a year under the controversial scheme, which GPs have warned may not fully replace existing MBS rebates and may cut practices’ net income.

As foreshadowed, the Government will pay practices up to $25,000 a year per 1000 Standardised Whole Patient Equivalents (SWPEs) – the average equivalent of a full-time GP – for a registered nurse working at least 12 hours and 40 minutes per week. 

Enrolled nurses working the same hours with the same SWPE will qualify for $12,500 annually, with total payments calculated on a sliding scale.

Top-up payments to ensure practices are not financially disadvantaged under the new arrangements will be available for the first three years of the scheme.