- On July 11, 2019
- July / August 2019
VMO performance reviews
Not sure what to expect from your performance review? Andrew Campbell explains the Level 1 and Level 2 review process.
While annual performance reviews for specialist VMOs don’t always occur, Local Health Districts (LHDs) are required to arrange them. With the exception of the penultimate year of the appointment, the reviews are conducted as Level 1 reviews. A Level 1 review requires the VMO to complete the review form and provide this to the reviewer, who would typically be the Department Director. If the performance is assessed to be satisfactory, there should be no need for an interview. If the reviewer requires further clarification on any matters arising during the process, further action such as an interview may be needed.
Level 2 reviews occur in the penultimate year of a VMO’s contract. Firstly, a Level 1 review process is completed. Following this, an interview is convened between the VMO and at least two reviewers. The reviewers would ordinarily include the VMO’s direct supervisor and the local DMS or equivalent. As part of the review process, the VMO is required to nominate three referees. The reviewers may also seek feedback from medical students and JMOs regarding the teaching and supervision provided by the VMO.
Performance reviews should not be used as an opportunity by the LHD to discuss ordinary hours or the services plan, nor should they be used to raise formal grievances lodged by colleagues. There are separate policy directives in place to deal with these scenarios. For example, if a VMO’s colleague has raised a grievance with the Department Director regarding a VMO, the Director should convene a meeting with the VMO to discuss the grievance under the applicable policy directive.
Following each type of performance review, a copy of the completed and signed form should be returned to the VMO for his or her records. Where concerns arise regarding a VMO’s performance as a result of a review, action may be taken by the LHD. For example, if it appears that the clinical privileges of the VMO should be changed, the matter may be referred to MDAAC.
When it is time for contract renewal, the LHD has discretion to reappoint a specialist VMO to the same role without advertisement following a successful Level 2 review.
For further information please see NSW Health Policy Directive PD2011_010 or contact Andrew Campbell at 02 9439 8822.
Delayed VMoney claims and the Superannuation Contributions Cap
It was brought to AMA (NSW)’s attention that there is a discrepancy between the NSW Health Superannuation for Sessional VMOs Policy Directive (PD2016_033) and the ATO’s superannuation contribution cap. As background, while Sessional VMOs are not employees in the common law sense, they are employees for superannuation purposes by operation of a 2005 ATO ruling. This means that superannuation should be paid on top of ordinary earnings up to the contribution cap ($54,030 per quarter for the 2018/19 financial year).
The Policy Directive states that superannuation is not payable in respect of remuneration paid to a VMO which exceeds the quarterly contribution cap. This is not correct. The contribution cap relates to earnings in a particular quarter rather than payments in a particular quarter. This drafting issue could lead to underpayment of VMOs in cases when a backlog of monthly claims are submitted together. We have flagged the matter with NSW Health.
AMA (NSW) encourages VMOs to submit monthly claims within the 15-day timeframe suggested in the Determination. However, we understand that this is not always possible. It’s important to note that after 12 months the LHD may give written notice to the VMO that 50% of the claim will be discounted. The VMO has four weeks to remedy the issue (or seek further exemption due to extenuating circumstances). After 24 months, an entire monthly claim may not be paid.
Should you have any questions regarding superannuation please contact our referral accounting partners Cutcher & Neale at 02 9923 1817.