COVID-19 Eligibility Update
The federal government has moved to make immediate changes to the way telehealth consultations are funded. From July 20, GPs will have to prove “an existing and continuous relationship with a patient” in order for Medicare rebates to be paid for telehealth.
This means that, under the new rules, you are able to access telehealth with an Eastbrooke doctor if you have seen that same doctor or another doctor at the practice, for a face-to-face consultation in the last 12 months. For the time being, patients living in Melbourne where lockdown measures still exist, homeless patients and children aged under 12 months are exempt from the restriction.
While the majority of telehealth consultations to date have been conducted by established GP clinics like Eastbrooke where a patient has an existing relationship with their doctor, there has been an increasing emergence of pop-up telehealth providers where important patient medical history cannot be accessed.
This decision supports Eastbrooke’s approach to quality patient care throughout the pandemic, where both telehealth and in-clinic consultations have a place in keeping you safe and well.
According to President of the AMA Dr Tony Bartone, “This preserves the foundation of quality primary care – the very real benefit of patients having a regular ongoing relationship with their GP, one benefit of which is now the ability to access bulk billed telehealth services”.
“Social isolation restrictions are now being lifted in many parts of Australia, and it is important for patients to continue seeing their regular doctor, or to establish a relationship with a doctor in order to access telehealth services.”
The Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt also said “This will ensure patients continue to receive quality, ongoing care from a GP who knows their medical history and needs,”.
The AMA is pushing for the COVID-19 Medicare telehealth rebates, due to end September 30, to be extended with the new conditions.
If Eastbrooke is not your usual clinic you can still see one of our doctors but Medicare rebates may not apply.