Dear Doctors and Health Care Workers
Extension of telehealth announcement was officially made today. We will pour over the details in the coming days but here it is straight from the MBS website at this link.
“Extension of the temporary telehealth and phone consultations until 31 March 2021
A range of COVID-19 health measures are being extended for a further six months, to 31 March 2021. This extension will include Medicare-subsidised telehealth and pathology services, GP-led respiratory clinics, home medicines delivery, public and private hospital services. Patients will continue to have access to Medicare-subsidised telehealth for general practitioner, nursing, midwifery, allied health and allied mental health services, where and when they need them. Telehealth is also being extended for essential specialist services, such as consultant physician, geriatrician, and neurosurgery services.
Changes to bulk-billing
The telehealth and phone consultation services provided by GPs and other doctors in general practice will be amended to remove the requirement to bulk-bill attendances for certain patients. When the amendment takes effect on 1 October 2020, these doctors will be able to choose to bulk-bill or patient bill any temporary COVID-19 telehealth and phone attendance service. Bulk billing will continue to be available and regular billing practices will apply to all of these services.
It is still a legislative requirement that these services, provided by GPs and other doctors in general practice, must be performed by the patient’s usual medical practitioner (please see Note AN.1.1 for the definition of ‘patient’s usual medical practitioner’ as some exemptions do apply).
The temporary doubling of the schedule fees for the bulk-billing incentive items will cease and schedule fees will return to the normal rate.
Fact sheets with further information can be found at the MBS temporary telehealth services page.
Pathology item 69501
The SARS-COV-2 pathology testing item for essential workers will be expanded from 22 September 2020 to include people who travel interstate as a rail crew member.”
We will provide more updates next week including answering questions that have come in, but until then, stay safe and enjoy the weekend.
Margaret and the Synapse team.