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Synapse Connect July 2020 – our 10th anniversary year

22 Jul 2020

Dear Synapse Network,

We hope that you are all staying safe and are slowly adapting to the ‘new normal’ that 2020 has delivered.

Like everyone, it has been a busy and challenging few months for us as we have adjusted to working from home in three countries. But our bril…

COVID MBS items, Major Changes from Monday, No. 51, 20 July 2020

20 Jul 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Feels a bit like ground hog day with telehealth billing chaos all over again. Angry patients erroneously thinking their telehealth consult would attract a Medicare rebate and being turned away, and providers scrambling to work out who they …

COVID MBS items, Major Changes from Monday, No. 50, 17 July 2020

17 Jul 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

We hope you have all be keeping well, and to our colleagues in Victoria, please know that we are thinking of you.

This, our 50th Covid bulletin, heralds huge changes affecting GPs from Monday, and the relevant Determination hit the regis…

Advance Health: The acceleration of digital health in the COVID-19 world

3 Jul 2020

Advance Health recently convened a panel of  international experts to discuss the acceleration of digital health in the COVID-19 world and the role of digital technology in the healthcare sector.

Synapse Medical Services were delighted to support a panel that discussed variou…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 49, 1 July 2020

1 Jul 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Welcome to July!

It’s been quiet on the Covid billing questions front for a while, but a good question has come in relating to billing Covid telehealth items for admitted patients.

But first, an announcement…The new MBS Answers we…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 48, 18 June 2020

18 Jun 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

An important question today, relating to billing for Australian Medicare eligible persons who are overseas at the time the service is provided. Here’s the answer.

1.  I saw in a previous Billing FAQs that you cannot bill Medicare if t…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 47, 10 June 2020

10 Jun 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Firstly, thank you all for your ongoing generous words of thanks and support. It is greatly appreciated. I am committed to answering ALL of your questions, yes really. But many are now non-Covid questions all of which are in the queue to be…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 46, 3 June 2020

3 Jun 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Just one question today requesting a clarification about the legalities around billing while overseas.

Here is the original question and answer posted on 1 June 2020.

If I am overseas (don’t know when I can be), and I video conferen…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 45, 1 June 2020

1 Jun 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Welcome to winter!

Some good questions today about retrospective billing, rejected claims and billing while overseas.

Here’s the answers.

1.  I think it was about 30 March when GP Telehealth items became available for all patien…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 44, 27 May 2020

27 May 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

An important question about the supervision rules and their application in public hospitals today as well as a clarification about claiming if called about a patient, but not by a patient. Also, a good question about the likelihood of conti…

Hunt for the man from SNOMED River

25 May 2020

Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt had a nice little announcement yesterday, revealing that since March 13, there have been 10.4 million services delivered to 5.71 million patients by telehealth, with $536.5 million benefits paid, and close to 70,000 healthcare providers hav…

COVID MBS items News Flash, No. 43, 25 May 2020

25 May 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

It’s been a while!

We hope you are all managing well out there and have settled into the new Covid way of working. And hopefully, you have clarity around how to correctly bill the new Covid services.

We are still receiving lots of e…

Telehealth is not quite the colt from old Regret but it sure as hell has got away

19 May 2020

Published in Pulse + IT Magazine

Written by Margaret Faux and Heather Grain on 18 May 2020

Telehealth has bolted away as fast as the colt from old Regret as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, says he wants telehealth to continue post …

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 42, 13 May 2020

13 May 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Some interesting and complex questions in the last few days regarding public patients in private hospitals, which will be of relevance to all specialists and particularly VMOs.

Also a question about ‘Usual’ vs Covid telehealth. Here …

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 41, 11 May 2020

11 May 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Welcome to another week and the promise of long-term telehealth. Good or not so good? Only time will tell.

Some really great questions today. Complex and common. Here are the answers:

1.  Electronic consent for DVA telehealth – is th…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 40, 6 May 2020

6 May 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Here are the answers to today’s questions.

1.  Can a specialist bill a gap for a consultation fee to a patient over the age of 70 years using codes 91822/91823?

Yes. Mandatory bulk billing was lifted for specialists from 20 April 2…

Synapse and Phenix partner for mobile telehealth and billing solution

6 May 2020

Medicare billing app vendor Synapse Medical Services has partnered with virtual GP clinic Phenix Health to provide a mobile telehealth and billing solution for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors can complete a telehealth consult on the Phenix platform, bill it, and receive a respo…

Is forcing GPs to bulk-bill the MBS Covid items legal?

6 May 2020

There is a clause for GPs using the new telehealth items: patients defined as ‘susceptible’ to COVID-19 must be bulk-billed (no exceptions). 

Is this legal? Margaret Faux, an expert on Medicare and its mysteries, offers her view.

The roll out of new COVID-19 MBS te…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 39, 4 May 2020

4 May 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

A warm welcome to the new week and thank you to those of you who have submitted questions.

We have received so many intelligent and thought provoking non-COVID questions over the weekend, covering a vast array of important billing law is…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 38, 1 May 2020

1 May 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Welcome to the month of May and the weekend, though I’m wondering if a weekend is still a thing.

We hope you continue to travel well, and we continue to express our thanks to all of you out there on the front lines, while some of us ar…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 37, 29 April 2020

29 Apr 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Here are the answers to today’s questions.

1.  A fellow physician worked at my private specialist clinic for few months. Had own provider number and billing set up. They have now left to join a public hospital position full time and…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 36, 27 April 2020

29 Apr 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

A whole week without a new Medicare billing law being introduced. Crazy!

No questions today, so just wanted to thank those of you who took the time to submit comments on my article in AUSPUBLAW.

It seems to have resonated positively, …

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 35, 24 April 2020

26 Apr 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

The end of another COVID week. We hope you are all travelling well and I’m sure some of you are very relieved to be heading back to the operating theatres next week with elective surgery recommencing. Please be sure to PPE-up (assuming th…

Frenetic law making during the COVID-19 pandemic: the impact on doctors, patients and the Medicare system

24 Apr 2020

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken even Medicare’s pillars to their core and placed more than a virus under a microscope. Bulk billing is now the subject of experimentation in a petri dish of its own.”

Margaret Faux unpacks the constitutional barrier to mandated bulk billing …

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 34, 23 April 2020

24 Apr 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Before answering only one question today, I have one correction/addition, and one update:

1.  For the geriatrician who correctly allocated item 92623 reported in last night’s bulletin, there was another option that I omitted which was…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 33, 22 April 2020

23 Apr 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Here are answers to today’s questions.

1.  Is it permissible to get credit card payment prior to a telehealth consult? For example, a few days before when the appointment is set up, or earlier on the day of the consult, can you take a…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 32, 22 April 2020

22 Apr 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Here are answers to today’s questions

1.  Why does the MBS exclude the item number combination 342 and 288, is it explicitly stipulated anywhere? 

Yes, the item 342 and 288 combination is explicitly restricted in the General Medic…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 31, 21 April 2020

21 Apr 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

First an update further to our news flash yesterday. The new law implements the following from today:

Specialists and allied health providers no longer have to bulk bill Covid items
GP bulk bill incentive items 10990 and 10991 have …

COVID MBS billing News Flash! No. 30, 19 April 2020

19 Apr 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

News flash!

HUGE NEWS – A new Determination has appeared on the register today that wasn’t there yesterday (unless I’m going mad) that appears to have effectively ended forced bulk billing for everyone except GPs.

Here’s the lin…

COVID MBS items Explainer and FAQs, No. 29, 17 April 2020

18 Apr 2020

Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers

Is it still acceptable to say, ‘happy Friday?’ Or is that now so pre-COVID?

Before answering today’s questions, we at Synapse just want to end the week by saying we hope you are all travelling well, and we thank you again, over and…