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Caring for COVID-Positive Patients in the Community

As COVID-19 vaccination rates rise and restrictions are eased, we expect there will be more but milder COVID-19 cases in the community, people for whom hospital care is neither desirable nor appropriate.

General practice is critical to ensuring that COVID-positive people with mild to moderate symptoms can be effectively cared for in the community.

We are seeking General Practices who are willing to manage patients with COVID in the Community via telehealth

The following support and resources will be provided:

  • COVID Management in the Community HealthPathways will be live by the middle of December 2021 which will include clear escalation pathways and additional support services available to assist the patient during their period of isolation.
  • Guidelines developed by the RACGP for managing adults with mild COVID-19 in the community are being urgently updated to extend the coverage to moderate cases and to cover children. Additional guidelines are being developed: to support patients to care for themselves at home where appropriate; and to provide guidance on caring for patients with Long COVID.
  • healthdirect will provide support to Public Health Units to triage COVID-positive people. Where GP care in the community is indicated, healthdirect will connect patients with their regular GP wherever possible. If the patient’s regular practice cannot see them, healthdirect will connect patients with another general practice in their local area which has indicated they will work with COVID-positive patients, or to a GP Respiratory Clinic.
  • General Practitioners can manage patients via telehealth and are not required to see patients face to face, however if a GP would like to undertake a face to face consultation a new $25 COVID-19 MBS item can be claimed in addition to the existing general consultation item or refer to the nearest GP Respiratory Clinic for review.
  • Should a patient require a home-visit during hours or in the after-hours period, to prevent unnecessary escalation to hospital for GP-managed COVID-positive patients. General practices can refer the patient to a commissioned home-visiting service if they do not have the capacity to undertake this visit themselves, referral pathways will be included in HealthPathways.
  • Access to a bundle of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the National Medical Stockpile, ordered via our website to practices seeing COVID-positive patients. The Department of Health is finalising quantities and inclusions, but an indicative list includes:
    • P2/N95 respirators
    • Eye protection
    • Long sleeved gowns/aprons
    • Gloves
  • Access to pulse oximeters, ordered via our website, to practices caring for COVID-positive patients in accordance with expert guidelines to support monitoring at home.
  • For States and Territories who agree to participate.
  • Participating general practices will need to have secure messaging capability to ensure the safe transfer of patient details. Appropriate secure messaging software includes Healthlink, Argus and Communicare.
  • healthdirect will also provide a 24/7 clinical support line for when a patient is unable to contact their GP or hospital in the home care arrangement.

Please note that our Practice Support Team will remain the first point of contact for participating general practices. 

If your practice is interested and willing to manage COVID-19 patients in the community with mild-moderate symptoms complete the form below.

An information session on the HealthPathway for managing COVID-19 patients in the community will be held in the coming weeks.

Is your practice willing to care for mild to moderate COVID positive patients in the community, including for initial face-to-face assessment, for: