From 13 March 2020 to 30 September 2020, new temporary MBS telehealth items were made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.

It is a legislative requirement that the GP and OMP COVID-19 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. From 20 April 2020 Specialist and allied health service providers were no longer required to bulk bill COVID-19 telehealth items.

The bulk-billing incentive Medicare fees have temporarily doubled (until 30 September) for items relating to GP and OMP services, diagnostic imaging services and pathology services. These items can be claimed with the new temporary MBS telehealth items where appropriate.

Update: –

From 20 July 2020, GPs and Other Medical Practitioner (OMP) working in general practice can only perform a telehealth or telephone service where they have an existing relationship with the patient. There are limited exemptions to this requirement.

A relationship is defined as the patient having seen the same practitioner for a face-to-face service in the last 12 months, or having seen a doctor at the same practice for a face-to-face service during the same period.

In general, this means that a patient will not be able to access care at a general practice via telehealth, if they have not physically seen their regular GP or another GP at the same practice within the last 12 months

What do the 20 July 2020 changes mean for you?

These changes will restrict the ability of GPs to provide MBS funded telehealth services where the patient has not been seen by that GP or another GP at the same practice face-to-face at least once in the previous 12 months.

In general, this means that a patient will not be able to access care at a general practice via telehealth, if they have not physically seen their regular GP or another GP at the same practice within the last 12 months

In order to be able to access telehealth services, patients will need to physically present to the GP or practice.

Further information concerning changes to telehealth services can be found via the link below: https://www.racgp.org.au/FSDEDEV/media/documents/Running%20a%20practice/Practice%20resources/Changes-to-telehealth-FAQ.pdf

If you have any questions, please call the Waterford Medical Accountants on (02) 4940 2800.

The material and contents provided in this publication are informative in nature only.  It is not intended to be advice and you should not act specifically on the basis of this information alone.  If expert assistance is required, professional advice should be obtained.

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