Temporary measures

There are temporary measures to assist you during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

Fast tracking electronic prescribing

Electronic prescribing allows prescribers, patients and pharmacists to use an electronic Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescription. Paper prescriptions are still available.

You don’t need to do anything now. Your software developer (vendor) will contact you when an update to your software is available.

Software vendors are working to update software to allow prescribers and pharmacists to use electronic prescribing.

Read more about Electronic Prescribing on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Read more about Electronic Prescriptions on the Australian Digital Health Agency website.

Extension for 3GA placements and 19AB exemptions

Automatic extensions are no longer applied to 3GA placements and 19AB exemptions. This automatic extension arrangement only applied to placements and exemptions that expired between 1 May 2020 and 31 October 2020.

The usual program rules now apply for you to meet sections 19AA and 19AB conditions.

If you require an extension for your 19AB exemption:

If you require an extension for your 3GA placement:

You can read more about these on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

We can’t backdate 3GA placements and 19AB exemption extensions so make sure you submit everything well before they expire. We’ll write to you with your new conditions and expiry date.

Temporary extension of the locum tenens period

The locum tenens period is now the standard 2 week period.

This means you can provide Medicare services from a new location, using your existing provider number if both the following apply:

  • you’re operating from the new location for less than 2 weeks
  • you’ll return to your usual location after this time.

This arrangement isn’t available for restricted health professionals. This includes doctors who:

  • need a section 19AB exemption
  • need a 3GA placement
  • are participants of the OMPs program.

Restricted health professionals still need to apply for an additional provider number to get Medicare benefits from a new location.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) sub register

Ahpra created a COVID-19 pandemic sub-register to allow eligible retired and non-practising health professionals to practice during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The register has been extended for another 12 months, and will close 5 April 2022.

If you want to opt out or have questions about your status on the sub-register, visit the Ahpra website.

If you’re on the sub-register, we’ll automatically extend your Medicare access if you’re eligible.

You can use your existing open Medicare provider number to access Medicare benefits unless you require a new provider number for a different practice location.

Read more about Ahpra’s sub register on their website.

Page last updated: 7 July 2022.
QC 54658