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Hunt for the man from SNOMED River

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 have used telehealth services.

It’s a pretty enormous number and comes as Greg himself is being lobbied pretty hard to continue with MBS-funded telehealth in the future. GPs in particular seem to like it although they are champing at the bit over the requirement that COVID-19 patients and vulnerable groups be bulk billed. The move is on now to keep some form of publicly subsidised telehealth, with the AMA yesterday issuing a strong call for it to be retained.

One of the reasons most often touted for Medicare disapproving of keeping telehealth on the MBS except in specific circumstances is over fears that doctors will rort the system…Another barrier is the strange obsession Medicare has with doctors seeing the same patient twice in one day. There are legitimate reasons for that but Medicare seems to think it is evidence of rorting.

One solution put forward this week in what proved to be by far the most read article on Pulse+IT came from Medicare billing specialist Margaret Faux and health informatician and coding expert Heather Grain, who argued that one way to overcome the reticence is for practitioners to add SNOMED codes to their claims. This would provide more transparency about reasons for attendance and justification for claims, assuaging Medicare’s innate suspiciousness and at the same time providing an extremely valuable data set that people have been agitating for for years.

Read the full article here on Pulse + IT Magazine

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