December 2010 - Australian Optometry article
Optometry graduates should apply for a Medicare provider number as soon as they have been notified by the Optometry Board of Australia that they are registered to practise optometry in a state or territory of Australia.
Graduates may be able to apply to the board as soon as they know they have passed the optometry course, rather than waiting until they have formally graduated.
If a graduate wants to become a participating optometrist, they must sign the Common Form of Undertaking - Participating Optometrists. Becoming a participating optometrist means Medicare benefits are payable for services they provide at any of their practice locations, subject to any limitations on their registration.
If they do not sign the agreement, they can be a non-participating optometrist, which may be applicable if they intend to practise as an employee of an optometrist who has an accepted undertaking of their own.
Each time a graduate intends to start practising at a new location, they must apply to Medicare Australia for a new provider number applicable to the new location. The form is called Application for an additional location Medicare provider/registration number and is available from the Medicare Australia website. Be sure to allow sufficient time before commencing at he new location for the new provider number to be issued. Also remember to contact Medicare Australia and close any provider numbers that are no longer required.
A new graduate optometrist should not use the provider number of the practice owner or another optometrist at the practice for services rendered while waiting for a provider number to be issued. New graduates are advised to send their provider number applications and the Common Form of Undertaking as early as possible before starting employment.
For more information call Medicare Australia on 132 150 (call charges apply).
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Last updated: 7 July, 2011