MENU
In This Section

Telehealth

As a result of COVID-19, temporary MBS telehealth items became available to help reduce the risk of community transmission and provide protection for patients and health care providers. These MBS telehealth numbers have been extended to 31 December 2021. A service may only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.

In addition, the broad range of temporary GP and OMP telephone attendances were replaced with a smaller number of telephone items as of 1 July 2021. Longer telephone items for mental health treatment will continue to be available until 31 December 2021.

The temporary MBS telehealth items are available to GPs, medical practitioners, specialists, consultant physicians, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied health providers and dental practitioners in the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery.

The new temporary MBS telehealth items are for out-of-hospital patients. It is a legislative requirement that GPs and Other Medical Practitioners (OMPs) working in general practice can only perform a telehealth or telephone service where they have an established clinical relationship with the patient.

There are limited exemptions to this requirement. GP and OMP COVID-19 telehealth services are eligible for MBS incentive payments when provided as bulk billed services to Commonwealth concession card holders and children under 16 years of age.

All providers are expected to obtain informed financial consent from patients prior to charging private fees for COVID-19 telehealth services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant shift to providing services via telehealth to protect practitioners, their staff and patients while essential health services continue to be provided. The Department of Health has developed the Telehealth Items Guide to support health professionals in understanding the requirements associated with telehealth items.

Changes From 1 October 2020

GPs and OMPs providing COVID-19 telehealth services are not required to bulk bill their patients. All providers are expected to obtain informed financial consent from patients prior to charging private fees for COVID-19 telehealth services.

Temporary MBS COVID-19 bulk billing incentive items 10981 (for GPs) and 10982 (for OMPs) cease.

The temporary doubling of fees for MBS bulk billing incentive items 10990, 10991, 10992, 64990, 64991, 74990 and 74991 cease.

GP and OMP COVID-19 telehealth services are eligible for MBS incentive payments when provided as bulk billed services to Commonwealth concession card holders and children under 16 years of age.

Further information