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COVID-19: GP Alert (9 April 2020)

April 09, 2020

Public Health Alert no.9

Earlier this week, Queensland Health released Public Health Alert no.9 reflecting the testing changes communicated earlier this week.

View Public Health Alert no.9 and the CDNA guidelines for more information.

COVID-19 Temporary MBS Telehealth Services update

Please note, from 6 April, 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.

Read the full Australian Government Department of Health factsheet.

For all MBS queries, continue to use askMBS@health.gov.au

Practice Incentive Program Information

Temporary increases to incentive payments for general practices will increase support for bulk billed services and ensure patients keep access to essential face-to-face care.

The requirements are described in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Primary Care Package – Practice Incentive Payments Factsheet.

QML testing update

QML are no longer performing coronavirus (COVID-19) testing at any sites across the Darling Downs and West Moreton region. Please go to your relevant Health Pathways site (Darling Downs or West Moreton) for a complete list of public and private providers for fever clinics and swab testing. Please remind your patients to call ahead to the pathology provider before attending for a test.

Darling Downs HealthPathways Website
Username: dduser
Password: ddpassword

West Moreton HealthPathways Website
Username: wmuser
Password: wmpassword

PoCT Testing - A message from Queensland Health

The Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) recently approved several Point-of-care serological tests (PoCT) for SARS-CoV-2. These detect antibodies that develop as a result of COVID-19 infection; some test kits test for both IgG and IgM antibodies; some test for IgM antibodies only. The kits can provide results in 15 to 20 minutes. The TGA requires additional evidence regarding the safety and performance of the devices be provided to the TGA within 12 months of approval of these devices.

At this stage, PoCTs have not been validated in the Australian context and the quality and utility of these emerging tests have not yet been established. The antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will likely take 5 to 7 days after onset of illness to become detectable by the PoCT. These tests are of limited use for the diagnosis of acute infection. PoCTs may be most useful in persons who have had symptoms for more than a week. It is obvious that these tests need to be used and results interpreted within the clinical context.

The list of COVID-19 tests approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for inclusion on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) is available here.

Public Health Laboratory Network Statement on Point-of-Care Serology Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is available here.

A statement from RCPA can be read here.

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affecting Health Care practitioners in the Darling Downs and West Moreton Regions: