Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Improving Access to Primary Care in Rural and Remote Areas – COAG s19(2) Exemptions Initiative

Page last updated: 21 December 2016

Section 19(2) Health Insurance Act 1973 (the Act) this section prohibits the payment of Medicare benefits where other government funding is provided for that service.

What it does

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) introduced the Section 19(2) Exemptions Initiative (the Initiative) - Improving Access to Primary Care in Rural and Remote Areas Initiative in conjunction of the Better Health for All Australians Action Plan under the 2006-2007 Federal Budget process.

The Initiative provides for exemptions under s19(2) of the Act to allow exempted eligible sites to claim against the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for non-admitted, non-referred professional services (including nursing, midwifery, allied and dental services) provided in emergency departments and outpatient clinic settings.

Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory all participate in the Initiative through a bilateral Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Commonwealth which are currently active until 31 December 2020.

Tasmania and Victoria originally elected not to be part of the Initiative under the original COAG agreement but remain eligible to participate.

What it Achieves?

The Initiative recognises that many patients in small rural and remote towns have limited access to primary health care services and that in response to a lack of private practices, many rural and remote public hospitals have employed medical officers to make traditional GP services available.

Eligibility Criteria

The 2016-2020 MoUs have been updated to a single criterion that requires an eligible public health site to be located within categories five to seven of the Modified Monash Model (MMM) classification system. The MoU also allows for sites to be phased out over an eighteen month period where they are deemed no longer to be eligible.

The following hospitals and health services have been approved under the Initiative:

South Australia

  • No active sites as at 21 December 2016

Queensland

  • Babinda Hospital
  • Barcaldine Multipurpose Health Service
  • Boulia Primary Health Centre
  • Cardwell Community Health Centre
  • Chinchilla Health Service
  • Collinsville Hospital
  • Dirranbandi Multipurpose Health Service
  • Eidsvold Health Service
  • Hughenden Health Centre
  • Inglewood Multipurpose Health Service
  • Injune Health Service
  • Jundah Primary Healthcare Service
  • Longreach Hospital
  • Mareeba District Hospital
  • Miles Health Service
  • Millmerran Health Service
  • Mitchell Hospital
  • Monto Health Service
  • Mundubbera Health Service
  • Mungindi Multipurpose Health Service
  • Oakey Health Services – Oakey Hospital
  • Quilpie Multipurpose Health Service
  • Richmond Health Centre
  • Roma Health Service
  • Stanthorpe Hospital
  • Surat Hospital
  • Tara Hospital
  • Taroom Hospital
  • Tully Hospital
  • Wallumbilla Health Service
  • Windorah Primary Healthcare Centre
  • Winton Multipurpose Health Service

Northern Territory

  • Gove District Hospital
  • Jabiru Community Health Centre
  • Tennant Creek Hospital
  • Yulara Health Service

Western Australia

  • Carnarvon Hospital
  • Derby Hospital
  • Exmouth Health Service
  • Fitzroy Crossing Health Service
  • Halls Creek Hospital
  • Kununurra District Hospital
  • Laverton District Hospital
  • Leonora District Hospital
  • Meekatharra Hospital
  • Norseman District Hospital
  • Onslow Hospital
  • Plantagenet – Cranbrook Health Service
  • Shark Bay Nursing Post
  • Warmun Health Clinic
  • Wyndham District Hospital

New South Wales

  • Berrigan Health Service
  • Boorowa Multipurpose Service
  • Coolamon Multipurpose Service
  • Culcairn Multipurpose Service
  • Dungog Community Hospital
  • Finley Health Service
  • Gloucester Soldiers Memorial Hospital & Gloucester Community Health Centre
  • Gundagai Health (Multipurpose) Service
  • Guyra Multipurpose Service
  • Hay Hospital
  • Henty Multipurpose Service
  • Hillston Hospital and Health Service
  • Holbrook Hospital
  • Jerilderie Hospital and Health Service
  • Lake Cargelligo Hospital and Health Service
  • Lockhart Hospital and Health Service
  • Merriwa Multipurpose Service
  • Murrumburrah-Harden Hospital and Health Service
  • Narrandera Health Service
  • Nyngan Hospital and Community Health Service
  • Scott Memorial Hospital Scone and Scone Community Health Centre
  • Temora Health Service
  • Tocumwal Health Service
  • Tumbarumba Multipurpose Service
  • Urana Health Multipurpose Service
  • Warialda Multi-Purpose Service
  • Wee Waa Community Hospital & Wee Waa Community Health Centre
  • West Wyalong Hospital
  • Wilson Memorial Community Hospital Murrurundi & Murrurundi Community Health Centre

Further Information

Please contact your health department in your State or Territory.