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31 Oct 2019

The Federal Government is investing $45.5 million in GP telehealth consultations to give more Australians in remote parts of the country better access to a doctor.

The funding spreads over three years from November 2019, with the aim of encouraging patients to maintain a strong relationship with their existing GP.

GPs will be able to conduct regular telehealth consultations with their patients in remote areas, with rebates available through the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

This expansion of Medicare rebates for telehealth is for patients in areas classified as Modified Monash Model 6 and 7, which encompasses remote parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Regional Services Minister Mark Coulton said the Government was determined to ensure Australians who live in remote areas are able to access world-class health services.

“These changes will be implemented through 12 new telehealth specific items being included on the MBS,” Mr Coulton said.

“Expanding the range of services means that patients will get more access to health care.”

To be eligible for subsidised telehealth consultations, patients are required to:

  • Live in a Modified Monash Model 6 or 7 location;
  • Have an existing clinical relationship with the GP providing the telehealth consultation (defined as three face-to-face consultations in the past 12 months); and
  • Be at least 15 kilometres by road from the GP.

“A range of existing MBS telehealth arrangements are already in place, including extra telehealth support for people in drought-affected areas,” Mr Coulton said.

“Medicare also supports specialists, consultation physicians and psychiatrists to conduct telehealth consultations with eligible patients in non-metropolitan areas.

“Another telehealth program enables psychologists, GPs, social workers and occupational therapists to provide mental health consultations under the Better Access initiative.”





Published: 31 Oct 2019