Currently Medicare are taking 37 calendar days to process basic provider number applications and this timeframe is set to blow out over the holiday period.
November to March are the peak processing times for Medicare. Every year we see waiting periods get increasingly longer but this year we are heading into this period with already ridiculous processing times.
The increased volumes at this time of year are due to a variety of factors including all the registrars getting their provider numbers for the start of next year, holiday locums, doctors moving in the new year and new FRACGP cohorts finishing exams.
During the coming months Medicare advise that we should allow 6 weeks for their applications to be processed. However, this is only for doctors who are unrestricted or for those applying for class exemptions such as Distribution Priority Area (DPA) locations.
Those applying for other 19AB exemptions, such as a locum exemption, will have a longer wait. These applications must go through a different process and when Medicare open these applications at the 37 day mark, they are then sent off to the Department who can take up to 28 days to send the application back to Medicare. Meaning a 6 week wait can easily turn into over 2+ months.
We have already been seeing unprecedented waits so it is likely to get quite bad. Please make sure that you are aware of the current waiting times and plan ahead.
Unrestricted GPs and locally based GPs going to a DPA location may be able to apply via PRODA and please encourage them to do so if eligible.
If you need assistance with provider number application, please do not hesitate to contact our registration team at email@example.com who can assist with the application.