Call for telehealth MBS item to extend to general population during pandemic

General practice representatives have called for an extension of the new telehealth MBS items to the general population in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and a potential financial crisis for the primary care sector.

The telehealth items announced this week will only apply to people quarantining themselves at home with COVID-19 or a suspected case, as well as certain vulnerable groups such as the elderly.

President of the GP Deputising Association (GPDA) Nathan Pinskier says the telehealth items announced were inadequate and needed to be extended to the general population for routine care.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: Telehealth, COVID-19


0 # Angela Conway 2020-03-15 19:44
The response of the Government and its Department of Health is parsimonious and reckless. As we look at new information each day, we now believe the best strategy for our specialist paediatric practice is to minimise in rooms consulting to that which is absolutely necessary. We want to identify all initial or review appointments that could be done safely remotely via telehealth. A significant resource allocation will be required to ensure these telehealth consults are done effectively, with costs associated with telehealth platforms, training of doctors and staff and providing detailed instructions and recommendations to families. Parents of newborns should probably purchase a basic baby scale. Then we should aim to focus resources on seeing those in rooms who really need physical exam or contact. We would need to invest in increased infection control measures, and increased protective apparel to make that reasonably safe. The telehealth items bestowed upon us on Saturday reveal how far behind the game, our health authorities are. And as a final kick in the guts, to professionals who are anxious about their health, but would put a sick baby or child's need ahead of their own, the government declares we must bulk bill and take a drastic reduction in our receipts. Why?- for political grandstanding and may be to cut the usual Medicare budget at this opportune time.

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