Not too late to apply for the ePIP

General practices that did not meet the new requirements of the eHealth Practice Incentives Program (ePIP) by the February 1 deadline can still apply for future payments if they become compliant, the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) has confirmed.

The new ePIP requires that practices install and begin using a number of eHealth initiatives, including integrating healthcare identifiers into electronic practice records, installing a standards-compliant secure messaging service, begin recording the majority of diagnoses for active patients electronically using a medical vocabulary, and installing an electronic prescription exchange service to be able to send eScripts.

By May 1, they must also be using clinical software that can access the PCEHR.

A letter and application form for the first ePIP payment, which will be made in May, were sent to all PIP registered practices at the end of February. Application forms are also available from the Medicare website.

A DoHA spokeswoman said that to be eligible for an ePIP payment in May 2013, a practice must have met the first four eligibility requirements by February 1 and should apply before April 24.

However, those practices that did not meet the requirements by February 1 can still apply for future payments, she said.

“Practices that did not meet the requirements by 1 February 2013 will not be eligible for a May 2013 payment,” she said.

“However, once they meet the requirements they can apply for future payment quarters. If a practice becomes compliant after the start of any payment quarter, they should not apply until after the start of the next quarter.”

If practices want to apply for the second quarter payment – from May 1 to July 31 – they must fufil all five of the requirements, including accessing the PCEHR.

The May payments will only be paid to practices that met the requirements for the entire first quarter: February 1 to April 30.

“As long as the eligibility requirements continue to be met, practices will only need to apply once and will be eligible for ongoing payments,” the spokeswoman said.

Eligible practices can receive a maximum payment of $12,500 per quarter, based on $6.50 per standardised whole patient equivalent (SWPE) per year.

ePIP payment dates. Source: DoHA
Final date for application form to be submittedWhere your practice will meet the eligibility criteria for the full period ofPayment will be made in
24 April1 Feb – 30 AprMay
24 July1 May – 31 JulAugust
24 October1 Aug – 30 OctNovember
24 January1 Nov – 31 JanFebruary

Practices can check to see if their software products are compliant at NEHTA's ePIP product register.

The DoHA spokeswoman said that in 2011-12, expenditure for the previous ePIP was $89.1 million, with an average payment of $20,000 per practice.

As of early March, 74,666 consumers and 1467 healthcare organisations were registered in the PCEHR system, she said.

Posted in Australian eHealth


0 # Sarah 2013-03-19 12:01
What DoHA and Medicare have not widely announced about the ePIP incentives is that:
1.much of the delay in applications is down to the fact that only some practices are beginning to receive the ePIP application forms for the feb-april quarter. These forms seem to be posted out completely arbitrarily; in a single area one practice may receive it with the others waiting interminably. I expect there will be a sudden glut of forms being received just before 24 April.
2. For all the effort going into ePIP, most practices and certainly most primary health care services (especially ones in rural and remote areas including aboriginal medical services) will receive far less than the forecast maximum of $50 000 per annum. Currently, ePIP is calculated at $6.50 per SWAPI (spelling?) so a large metro Adelaide practice has calculated that it will receive $6500 from the ePIP...PER ANNUM.
0 # Simon James 2013-03-19 12:58
Hi Sarah,

Yes, interesting that DOHA has set challenging deadlines for practices but doesn't apply the same expectation to its friends over at DHS (Medicare), who are turning a relatively simple set of software upgrades into an elongated and expensive debacle for many practices.

Delays for NASH certificates, delays for HPI-O allocation, delays for adding providers into the Healthcare Provider Directory (which prevents practices from adding their provider's HPI-Is into their software, which in turn delays PCEHR activation in clinical software), delays for distributing ePIP application forms, helpdesk staff that aren't trained to answer even basic queries about the process, medicare locals running around with trays of cakes trying to pick up the pieces.

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