Telehealth – COVID-19

Effective from 30/03/2020 – 30/09/2020

To provide continued access to essential primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government is expanding Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians.

The Australian Government is making telehealth a key weapon in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Expanding the consultation services available by telehealth is a critical stage in the Government’s response to COVID-19.

Australia now has a “whole-of-population telehealth”, with Medicare to cover phone and video mental health consultations. These sessions will be bulk billed.

Who is eligible?

The new temporary MBS telehealth items are available to all Medicare eligible Australians can now receive these services. All services provided using the new temporary MBS telehealth items must be bulk billed. The services will be available until 30 September 2020. The continuing availability of these items will be reviewed prior to 30 September 2020.
To be eligible you must have a Mental Health Care Plan.

What telehealth options are available?

Video conference services are the preferred approach for substituting a in person consultation. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providers will also be able to offer audio-only services via telephone if video is not available.
No specific equipment is required to provide Medicare-compliant telehealth services. Services can be provided through widely available video calling apps and software such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and others.

Why are the changes being made?

The new temporary MBS telehealth items will allow people to access essential Medicare funded health services in their homes and reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19 within the community.

How will these changes affect patients?

The new temporary MBS telehealth items will require providers to bulk-bill, so there will be no additional charge to patients. Patients are required to consent to their service being bulk-billed. Eligible patients should ask their service providers about their telehealth options, where clinically appropriate.

Patients will be emailed after each session and will need to reply that they are giving consent for the practitioner to claim a bulk bill from Medicare. Please look out for and respond to these emails promptly to ensure continuity of your sessions.

Will my appointment proceed as previously booked?

Yes, we will confirm your appointment via our regular methods. Your practitioner will contact you via phone at your booked appointment time and the appointment will proceed in the mode that is agreed upon at that time.

Will I still be able to contact the rooms?

Yes, head office at Robina remains open via phone and email. Our administration team will continue to be available within our regular opening hours.

Wherever possible please contact us via email, whilst phone contact is available we are aware that lines have been very congested at certain times due to the high demand.

When sending an email or leaving a voicemail please convey specific details of the reason for your email or call and your availability for a return call or for appointments you wish to book so that we can assist you promptly and effectively.

Where can I find more information?

COVID-19 Bulk-billed Telehealth Service Consumer Fact Sheet