The Practice Nurse Incentive Program was introduced through Medicare Australia on 1st January, 2012. Once the general practice has applied for the PNIP, quarterly payments to practices are made, based on calculations made by Medicare Australia from the information given in the application.
These incentive payments have replaced Medicare Item numbers that were previously claimed for practice nurse time undertaken for immunisation, cervical smears, and treatment of a person’s wound.
The Australian Practice Nurse Association website provides comprehensive information about the PNIP including FAQs such as:
What is the purpose of the PNIP payments? Do they cover nurses’ salaries?
The PNIP provides funding to practices/services that employ either practice nurses or Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) or both. The funded site can use these funds for any purpose, including offsetting the salary/wages of their nurse or AHW. The aim of the policy is to offset costs rather than fully meet them.
The PNIP is a simplification of the previous incentive scheme. That scheme provided payments for certain activities. This new program provides more freedom in the range of activities that can be undertaken and provides the opportunity for practice nurses to work to their full scope, releasing them from the particular clinical practice and tasks associated with item numbers. Nurses can undertake a more varied role, and thus be engaged differently in meeting the clinical and financial demands on the practice.
Please access more information on the PNIP through the APNA website:
and the Medicare Australia website: