Update on COVID-19 MBS Telehealth Items
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.
In terms of patients enrolled in the Health Care Homes (HCH) Program, the following should apply:
- Telehealth consultations for acute conditions unrelated to the patient’s chronic disease or shared care plan should be undertaken using the temporary telehealth MBS items, with bulk billing as appropriate.
- Telehealth consultations relating to a patient’s existing chronic disease or shared care plan should be covered by the HCH bundled payment and the temporary telehealth MBS items should not be used.
This is the same as the approach that is taken for face-to-face consultations with HCH patients.
GP 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 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.
Comprehensive information regarding the Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak can be accessed on the Department of Health's website.
For consumer information, go to Health Care Homes for consumers
Health Care Homes enrolment is now closed
Patient enrolment for the Health Care Homes program closed on 30 June 2019. Over 10,000 patients in ten PHN regions across Australia were registered and continue to receive coordinated and innovative patient-centred care for their chronic and complex health conditions. The Health Care Homes program will run until 30 June 2021.
This extension will allow the general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services already participating in the program further time to implement new flexible models or care tailored to the needs of their patients. More information on the program extension is provided in the frequently asked questions section of the website.
Health Care Homes program extended
In December 2018 the Government announced the extension of the Health Care Homes program for an additional eighteen months to 30 June 2021. The period allowed for patient enrolment has also been extended to 30 June 2019, or until enrolment reaches the program’s new patient cap of 12,000.
About Health Care Homes
Health Care Homes are general practices or ACCHS that provide better coordinated and more flexible care for Australians with chronic and complex health conditions.
Chronic disease is on the rise in Australia. One in two Australians now have a chronic disease — such as diabetes, arthritis or heart and lung conditions — and one in four have at least two chronic health diseases1. Health Care Homes help people better manage their conditions by giving them coordinated, integrated care, that is tailored to their needs, and provided at their usual GP clinic or ACCHS.
Over 10,000 patients are now registered and benefiting from the Health Care Home model of care. Health Care Home care teams have worked together with their patients to develop and monitor a shared care plan. The shared care plan:
- includes comprehensive information about a patient’s care, medications and all the health professionals who care for them
- identifies local health care providers best able to meet each patient’s needs, and helps coordinate care with these providers
- include strategies to help each person manage their conditions and improve their quality of life.
The Health Care Homes Trial will run until 30 June 2021.
Guide to Health Care Homes
Health Care Homes have completed enrolling patients. The following links and resources can guide you.
- Your local PHN practice facilitator is your first point of call for any queries.
- Training for all Health Care Homes - this comprehensive online training course is available free for all participating practices. Contact your local PHN practice facilitators to begin the training as soon as possible.
- Detailed information on the program is available in the Health Care Home handbook under resources for practices and ACCHS.
- Call Precedence Healthcare for questions about the RST: 1300 236 638.
- Call the Department of Human Services for questions about HPOS: 1800 222 032.
- Call the Health Care Homes hotline (Department of Health): 1800 290 637 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with queries about Health Care Homes.
- Go to resources for practices and ACCHS for the handbook and other resources.
Building on the service we provide
Working as a team
Enrolling Health Care Home patients
For consumer information, go to the Health Care Homes for consumers' page.
1 AIHW data release on chronic disease (September 2016). 23 per cent of Australians have two or more of the eight selected chronic diseases in 2014-2015.