Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers
Stage 4 has just been announced in a joint media release which you can read here https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/covid-19-whole-of-population-telehealth-for-patients-general-practice-primary-care-and-other-medical-services
“These critical changes have been designed in partnership with key stakeholders in the sector including the Australian Medical Association, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Allied Health Professionals Australia, Australian Psychological Society, and the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association.”
“Services will include GP services and some consultation services provided by other medical specialists, nurse practitioners, mental health treatment, chronic disease management, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessments, services to people with eating disorders, pregnancy support counselling, services to patients in aged care facilities, children with autism, and after-hours consultations.”
Key points able to be gleaned thus far are:
- The new services commence from 8.00am tomorrow
- Doubling of the bulk bill incentives for GP services on both face to face and telehealth services
- An additional incentive to encourage GP practices to remain open for required face to face services
- “Usual” billing practices permitted for new COVID telehealth. This appears to have lifted the unworkable attempt to force bulk billing, but details are as yet unclear
- Further expansion and a Stage 5 are in the pipeline
- Current review/end date remains 30 September 2020.
I expect the legal draftspeople are working on the Determination right now and as soon as it appears on the register, I will provide a further update.
Margaret and the Synapse team.