Department of Health’s processes over the peak period

26 Nov 2020

AMA members should be aware that the Department of Health will enter a peak period between December to March that will impact its processes for access to Medicare billings.

This includes access to Medicare billings through the issue of approved program placements for general practice registrars participating on the Australian General Practice Training Program, and assessment of section 19AB exemption applications for international medical graduates seeking to practise outside of recognised Distribution Priority Areas (DPA) and Districts of Workforce Shortage (DWS).

Processing times for 19AB applications

For 19AB applications, average processing times for both Services Australia and the Department of Health increase during the peak period, due to additional volume. Each Department has a 28-day period in which to assess an application. It is unlikely that an application will require the full 28 days at each Department, however, applicants should allow a minimum of six weeks for their application to be processed and a Medicare provider number issued. 

Australian General Practice Training Program Placements

Australian General Practice Training Program Placements are assessed within 28 days. Once the doctor submits their Medicare provider number application to Services Australia, the application will be matched with an approved placement, and a class exemption applied. Applicants should allow a minimum of six weeks for their application to be processed and a Medicare provider number issued.

Other useful information

  • Requests for expedited processing: Services Australia and Department of Health process all Medicare provider number, section 19AB, and approved program placement applications in strict order of receipt to ensure procedural fairness to all applicants.
  • Requests for status updates: Health does not provide status updates for applications. Health has 28 days from receipt of the application from Services Australia to process the applications. To confirm whether your application has been received, please email 19AB@health.gov.au.
  • Status updates for Australian General Practice Training Program participants: doctors or their representative should contact their Regional Training Organisation (RTO). Contact details are available here.

More information is available on the Department of Health website.