As a result of COVID-19, new temporary MBS telehealth items became available to help reduce the risk of community transmission and provide protection for patients and health care providers. These MBS telehealth numbers will be extended to 31 March 2021. A service may only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.
Since July 20, 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.
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.
Telehealth Items Guide
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant shift to providing services via telehealth to protect practitioners, their staff and patients while essential health services continue to be provided. The Department of Health has developed the Telehealth Items Guide to support health professionals in understanding the requirements associated with telehealth items.
COVID-19 Temporary MBS Telehealth Services
The new MBS telehealth items guide and fact sheets are now available.
From 1 October 2020:
- GPs and OMPs providing COVID-19 telehealth services are not required to bulk bill their patients. All providers are expected to obtain informed financial consent from patients prior to charging private fees for COVID-19 telehealth services.
- Temporary MBS COVID-19 bulk billing incentive items 10981 (for GPs) and 10982 (for OMPs) cease.
- The temporary doubling of fees for MBS bulk billing incentive items 10990, 10991, 10992, 64990, 64991, 74990 and 74991 cease.
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.