Rural enhancement initiative
Payment of higher fees
One of the initiatives of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Repatriation Commission and the Australian Medical Association Ltd (AMA) makes provision for a higher fee to be paid to local medical officers (LMOs) who provide services to veterans in identified rural public hospitals, where state governments have made provisions for fees higher than 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).
LMOs participating in the rural enhancement initiative receive a 10% loading on top of the LMO rate. This initiative applies in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
In order to implement this initiative, the department is identifying all LMOs who provide services at these public hospitals. Use the navigation menus at left of screen to see the list of rural hospitals by state.
If you treat veterans at any one of the rural public hospitals identified, you will be eligible to receive the higher fees for all MBS services provided at those hospitals.
What to do
Apply for Medicare provider number
If you are eligible, the higher payments can be made to you when you establish an individual provider number for the location of the hospital(s) specified at which you provide services. If you do not already have a provider number, you can get one by completing an Application for a Medicare Provider Number for a Medical Practitioner form and submitting it to Medicare Australia to establish a provider number specific to this hospital. This form is available directly from Medicare Australia, or their website www.medicareaustralia.gov.au.
If you are a Provider working in one of the designated rural public hospitals, when you have established this provider number, you should advise DVA of your number. DVA will then record the correct details, which will inform Medicare Australia that this practice attracts the higher fee.
To contact DVA please ring 1300 550 457 (Option 3, then Option 3)
Bill to practice location
You should ensure that all services that you provide at the hospital(s) are billed at that practice location. This will ensure that the correct payments are made. Services provided at eligible rural hospitals, but billed to other practice addresses, will not be paid at the higher rate.
Supplementary veterans' access payment
General practitioners registered under the LMO scheme may claim a supplementary payment, the veterans' access payment (VAP), for services provided to eligible veterans and dependants. It is no longer necessary to use MT98 and MT99 when claiming the VAP. Instead claims should be made using the Medicare bulk billing incentive item numbers 10990, 64990, 74990, 10991, 10992, 64991 and 74991.