Healthcare across the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday region will soon become more affordable as the government introduces a $ 65 million package for rural communities.

From January 2022, the incentive rate for rural bulk billing for doctors working in small regional, rural and remote towns will increase by between 10 and 40 percent.

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia has welcomed the initiative, which it claims will “significantly increase” discounts for bulk billing.

RDAA President Dr. John Hall said it was the first time Medicare-recognized health care services were being delivered differently outside of larger regional and metropolitan cities.

“This investment will fundamentally transform rural and remote basic services,” said Dr. Hall.

“This different scale of Medicare discounts will better help (physicians) provide the necessary care these communities need and deserve.

” This change in policy also recognizes the proliferation of bulk billing services in these communities, especially our very remote communities (MMM7), which have the highest bulk billing rate in Australia, where 89 percent of all services offered are bulk billing services. “

Regional Health Secretary Mark Coulton said more than 12,000 rural and remote General practitioners would be eligible for the higher mass billing incentive.

“Doctors in the bush face greater responsibilities, more complex care situations, and high rates of chronic illness compared to urban doctors who rely on the support of other medical services and facilities,” Coulton said.

“We want to make rural Australia a preferred career destination for aspiring rural doctors.”

The current incentive will go from the current 150 percent in the metropolitan area to 160 percent in medium and large rural cities classified as MMM4 areas, 170 percent in small rural cities or MMM5 areas, 180 percent in remote areas or MMM6 and 190 percent in very remote areas or MMM7.

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