If you are a private-practising (self-employed) midwife, you may apply for a Medicare Provider Number (MPN) so that your clients can claim Medicare rebates for the midwifery care you provide.
This includes care provided:
- during pregnancy and after the baby is born, wherever the woman is situated;
- during labour and birth, but only if the woman is situated in a hospital or birth centre.
Full information about midwives and Medicare can be found here.
Endorsed midwives and private health funds
As an endorsed midwife, your services may also be covered through certain private health funds, including home birth services.
What is a 'collaborative arrangement'?
In order for you, as a endorsed midwife, to provide Medicare rebateable services, you must have a collaborative arrangement with either a doctor who provides obstetric services; a hospital that has credentialed the midwife; or a health service/organisation that employs or engages at least one obstetric specified medical practitioner. This is to provide for seamless consultation, referral or transfer when the woman’s care requires it. More information here.
Collaborative arrangements vary depending on what you negotiate with doctors and hospitals. You may have formal collaborative arrangements with a GP, hospital or an obstetrician, may follow a more informal process with a particular doctor, or may provide care to a woman who has been referred to you by a doctor.
Medicare requires a copy of the collaborative arrangement in the form of a Collaborative Agreement, as evidence that a collaborative arrangement is in place. More information here.
What does this mean for collaborating doctors?
As part of the Collaborative Arrangement, the doctor's role is to provide support to facilitate easy consultation, referral or transfer if the need arises for the benefit of the woman and her baby. Doctors are not responsible for your practice. Further information about maternity care collaboration can be found here.
Principles that underpin communication between midwives and obstetricians (GP or specialist) - this document is intended to provide guidance for eligible midwives and obstetricians about appropriate communication in relation to the care of women who choose an eligible midwife as their maternity care coordinator.
What about Medicare rebates and home birth?
Home birth services can be provided by any midwife, but there are no Medicare rebates for birth at home, even you have a MPN. However, if the woman has private health insurance, she may be able to claim a benefit for the birth through her private health fund. Antenatal and postnatal care are eligible for a Medicare rebate.
How can I apply for a MPN?
In order to be able to apply for a MPN, you must apply for NMBA Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives (formally referred to as Medicare Eligibility). Once you have NMBA endorsement, you may apply to Medicare for a MPN.
How do I become endorsed to prescribe?
Once you have NMBA Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives registration, you may also apply to Medicare for a Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS) number and prescribe PBS approved medications for mothers and babies, or medicines that have been endorsed by the NMBA.
You may also order ultrasound scans and some pathology tests that may be required during pregnancy and early parenting, and can refer women and babies directly to medical practitioners.