What's new?

July 2014

Improvements will be made to the way some PBS medicines are processed under the Highly Specialised Drugs Programme from 1 July 2015.

Telehealth

Telehealth Financial Incentives Program ceases on 30 June 2014

The Telehealth Financial Incentives Program will cease on 30 June 2014 and financial incentive payments will not be paid for Medicare Telehealth services provided after this date.

There will be no changes to Telehealth Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items.  Providers will continue to receive higher Medicare benefits for Telehealth services.

For more information, go to the Department of HealthExternal link website.

Telehealth provides financial incentives to eligible health professionals and aged care services that help patients have a video consultation with a specialist, consultant physician or consultant psychiatrist.

Telehealth aims to remove some of the barriers to accessing medical services for Australians who have difficulty getting to a specialist or live in rural and remote areas.

Changes to telehealth program

The geographic eligibility criteria for telehealth Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items has changed from 1 January 2013.

To find out if this affects you, go to MBS OnlineExternal link.

For more information email telehealth@humanservices.gov.auEmail.

Eligibility for telehealth

Health professionals

A range of health professionals can participate in telehealth including specialists, consultant physicians and psychiatrists, medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, midwives, practice nurses and Aboriginal health workers.

For more information, visit telehealth for health professionals.

Residential aged care services

Telehealth is available to residential aged care services that provide care and accommodation to residents under the Aged Care Act 1997 and hold a residential aged care service (RACS) ID.

For more information, visit telehealth for residential aged care services.

Telehealth areas

Geographic eligibility for telehealth services are determined by the Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Area classification. A telehealth eligible area is outside of a Major City (RA1).

You can check if a location is telehealth eligible at doctorconnect.gov.auExternal link. Go to 'search the map', choose the 'ASGC Remoteness Areas Layer', and enter the address of your patient's location during the consultation.

The exception to this is where a patient is:

  • living in an eligible residential aged care service
  • at an eligible Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS), or
  • at an eligible Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS).

To be considered an eligible AMS or ACCHS, the practice must hold a current exemption granted under subsection s19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973. For more information regarding s19(2) exemptions email oatsih19.2enquiries@health.gov.auEmail.

For more information

Detailed information on telehealth is available at mbsonline.gov.auExternal link then Telehealth including:

  • telehealth program guidelines
  • Q&As for patients and health professionals
  • maps on eligible telehealth geographical areas
  • MBS telehealth items, and
  • contact information for policy enquiries.

For general information about telehealth call 132 150*. For information specifically relating to incentive payments call 1800 222 032** or email telehealth@humanservices.gov.auEmail.

Last updated: 24 April, 2014