Australian medical graduates and OTDs who are permanent residents or Australian citizens are required under section 19AA of the Act to obtain recognised postgraduate medical qualifications before they can provide services that attract a Medicare rebate.
In addition, OTDs who were first recognised as medical practitioners under the Act on or after 1 January 1997 are ineligible to provide services that attract Medicare benefits for a period of 10 years (under section 19AB of the Act). Exemptions to section 19AB can be granted to OTDs working in districts of workforce shortage.
All doctors who are registered with an Australian Medical Registration Board and who wish to practise medicine in Australia, should apply to the HIC for provider numbers. There are different categories of provider numbers, some of which are issued to allow doctors to refer patients to private specialists or consultant physicians, and to request diagnostic imaging services and pathology services. Other provider numbers allow access to Medicare benefits.