MENU
Font size:

Telehealth

COVID 19 Temporary MBS Telehealth Services

The expansion of COVID Telehealth continues to change. Please continue to visit this site for the most current and to update information and resources‚Äč. Current information includes:

Telehealth Support for your practice

Find out more about how our Practice Support team can help you, and some of the telehealth tools available to your practice. 

Telehealth Changes as of 20 April

Specialists and allied health providers are no longer required to bulk-bill COVID-19 telehealth where the service is provided to a concessional or vulnerable patient or a child under 16. 

GPs and Other Medical Practitioners must continue to bulk-bill the COVID-19 telehealth and telephone consultation services where the service is provided to a concessional or vulnerable patient or a child under 16.

Two new bulk billing incentives items currently available for medical services for patients who are either under 16 years old, or who are a concessional beneficiary. Download the latest COVID-19 Temporary MBS Telehealth: Quick Guide.

Free NBN upgrades for clinics

Some general practices are now able to upgrade their existing NBN connection at no extra cost for a period of six months to support practices in delivering telehealth services to patients. (AMA, 9 April). 

Changes as of 6 April 20

  • From 13 March 2020 to 30 September 2020 (inclusive), new temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.
  • The new temporary MBS telehealth items are available to GPs, medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, participating midwives and allied health providers.
  • A service may only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.
  • The new temporary MBS telehealth items are for non-admitted patients.
  • From 6 April 2020, it is a legislative requirement that the new telehealth services must be bulk billed for Commonwealth concession card holders, children under 16 years old and patients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • Health providers may apply their usual billing practices to the telehealth items for patients who do not fit the above criteria. Providers are expected to obtain informed financial consent from patients prior to providing the service; providing details regarding their fees, including any out-of-pocket costs.

The bulk billing incentive Medicare fees have temporarily doubled (until 30 September) for items relating to General Practice, Diagnostic Imaging and Pathology services. These items can be claimed with the telehealth items where appropriate.

A full list of changes is available on the Department of Health website MBS online please visit:

The below links will provide useful and up to date factsheets:

The Department of Health provides an email advice service for providers seeking advice on interpretation of the MBS items and rules and the Health Insurance Act and associated regulations. If you have a query relating to the COVID19 telehealth MBS items please email AskMBS@health.gov.au.

The Government has announced the new Telehealth and Pathology Items for COVID-19 can now be claimed. 

The RACGP has developed guides to support GPs in consulting remotely via phone and video during COVID-19. These resources are available via the RACGP website

PulseIT has listed are some of the technological resources for COVID-19 available to medical practices, allied health practices, pharmacies, hospitals, aged and community care during the coronavirus outbreak. 

CareMonitor

We are also currently exploring an innovative shared care planning tool known as CareMonitior which can be used for telehealth. Your practice can submit an expression of interest form about using Care Monitor or finding out more information online. 

Telehealth Capability Interest Group

The Telehealth Capability Interest Group (TCIG) is a community of practice to share telehealth initiatives and support clinicians to increase the use of telehealth into their clinical practice.

They encourage all clinicians with an interest in telehealth to become a members, and the Group meets via online forums every Thursday from 1pm to 2pm.

This Thursday's forum topic is Telehealth Virtual Care - Technology, platforms and troubleshooting.

Prescribing 

Interim arrangements for prescriptions for supply of medicines

Ahead of the introduction of electronic prescribing later in the year, please be aware interim arrangements are now in place for prescribing to make supply of medicine more convenient following a telehealth consultation.  

Under the interim arrangements, a digital image (such a photo, scan or pdf) of a prescription can be sent electronically by the prescriber to the patient’s pharmacy of choice. This electronic copy can be used by the pharmacy to supply the medicine and claim from the PBS in the same way as a paper prescription. The pharmacy may communicate directly with the patient to arrange payment and to organise collection or home delivery of the medicines. 

Alternatively, the paper prescription can be sent by post to the patient. The prescription can then be taken to a pharmacy by a family member or friend. As part of the National Health Plan, electronic prescribing is being fast-tracked. Work to upgrade healthcare providers’ clinical software is well underway and is expected to be ready by May 2020. The Australian Government has announced the interim arrangements for prescribing will remain in place until 30 September 2020, or until full electronic prescribing rollout is implemented.  

Read more at NPS Medicinewise

Electronic Prescribing

The Digital Health Agency’s new Electronic Prescribing webpage has key information that clinicians will need to know in the lead up to EP which has been accelerated (scheduled for end of May 2020), and include details such as the Readiness Checklist (halfway down the page) as well as a number of Frequently Asked Questions.

The webpage has specifically dedicated quicklinks to Prescribers and Dispensers.