Member feedback on telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic


Feedback due: Monday 23 May 2022

We’re seeking feedback from RACGP members on telehealth services in general practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth was first introduced in March 2020 and a number of changes have been made to Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items in response to the evolving pandemic situation.

The Australian National Audit Office is undertaking an audit to assess whether the Department of Health has effectively managed the expansion of telehealth services during and post the COVID‐19 pandemic. The ANAO proposes to examine if:

  • the expansion was informed by robust planning and policy advice
  • the expansion was supported by sound implementation arrangements
  • monitoring and evaluation of the expansion led to improvements.

The RACGP will be providing a submission to the audit that will address various issues relating to telehealth, including:

  • the initial requirement for GPs to bulk bill MBS telehealth items
  • the removal of the majority of MBS phone items for GP services and the resulting impact on patients
  • rules and regulations around billing telehealth items, including the challenges of keeping up to date with changing requirements
  • the scope of services covered by existing telehealth items and any gaps that need to be addressed
  • the Department of Health’s 2021 compliance activity around the existing relationship requirement for telehealth services
  • mechanics of telehealth (eg additional infrastructure required, cost to practices)
  • limitations of telehealth.

We welcome feedback from RACGP members on these topics, as well as any other issues not listed here that you think we should include in our response. Feedback should be sent to healthreform@racgp.org.au by Monday 23 May 2022.

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