Section 19AA of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (the Act)
Section 19AA of the Act was introduced to recognise and support general practice as a vocational speciality, as well as to provide a framework for achieving long term improvements in the quality of doctors working in Australia. As section 19AA of the Act is a quality assurance measure there is no exemption from the requirement to obtain vocational recognition to be eligible to access the Medicare benefits arrangements.
Section 19AA of the Act places a requirement on all doctors who were registered in Australia after 1 November 1996 and are permanent residents or Australian citizens to obtain (or be working towards obtaining) vocational recognition as a GP, specialist or consultant physician in order to access Medicare rebates. A doctor is considered to be vocationally recognised once they have obtained a Fellowship qualification that is recognised in Australia. Doctors who are subject to section 19AA of the Act may otherwise obtain Medicare access if they are working towards obtaining a Fellowship qualification on one of the approved workforce or training programs that are included in Schedule 5, Part 2 of the Health Insurance Regulations 2018 (the Regulations), also known as a section 3GA program.