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COVID-19: GP Alert (24 September 2020)

September 24, 2020

Telehealth extended - MBS telehealth items guide

Commencing 13 March 2020 and extending until 31 March 2021, temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.

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.

A service may only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.

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 temporary GP and OMP bulk billing incentive items for patients who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and the temporary doubling of all Medicare bulk-billing incentive fees ceased as of 1 October 2020.

For all the fact sheets please click here.

Do you have patients in an aged care facility? Tip Sheet for GPs working in RACFs

Click here to view the GPs working in RACFs Tip Sheet

This tip sheet has been adapted from North Western Melbourne PHN. It incorporates the expertise of a range of stakeholders including Professor Michael Murray, the head of the Australian Government’s Victorian Aged Care Response Centre, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and our new Aged Care Expert Advisory Group chaired by Dr Jagdeesh Singh Dhaliwal.

It outlines best practice guidance and learnings from the Victorian experience with COVID-19 for consideration in your own planning.

NEW – Queensland/NSW border zone set to expand

From 1 am on Thursday 1 October 2020, Queensland’s border zone will expand to include Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glenn Innes council areas. Border residents will be able to apply for a border pass and travel around Queensland for any purpose, and Queenslanders can travel to those places as well.

Border changes as of 3:00pm 23 September 2020

The following parts of the Direction will come into effect to:

  • give effect to the Queensland Freight Protocol
  • allow people to enter Queensland to fulfil informal shared parenting and child contact arrangements
  • allow New South Wales border zone residents to travel anywhere in Queensland for informal shared parenting arrangements, without quarantining. Similarly, Queensland residents can travel to the New South Wales border zone for this purpose and re-enter Queensland without quarantining
  • introduce a new ‘H’ category for the border declaration pass for people coming to Queensland for day health appointments
  • make the use of the approved Queensland Health approved essential health care form (DOCX) mandatory for private health practitioners providing health care to people entering Queensland from hotspots.