What telehealth options or technology are available?
There is no specific equipment that is required to be able to provide Medicare-compliant telehealth services. Practitioners must also make sure that their telecommunication methods are in line with the clinical requirements and adhere to the privacy laws.
Please note that video conferencing is more preferred as an alternative to a face-to-face consultation as compared to audio-only services.
Does it matter where the patient is located, or I am located at the time of the consultation?
There are no restrictions. You, as a Doctor, can provide your services to any patient Australia wide.
What if I haven’t seen the patient before?
You can only provide telehealth services to your own patients or patients of other General Practitioners that work at the same practice as you. If they are patients of another GP in the same practice, then they must have had at least one face-to-face consultation in the past 12 months with their GP.
This is because of the established clinical relationship. There may be some exemptions to this, such as the following:
- children under the age of 12 months;
- patients who are homeless;
- is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
- has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
- does not allow them to have control of, and access to, space for social relations.
- Please note that even if an established clinical relationship or exemption applies to a patient, MBS telehealth services are not available to admitted hospital patients.
- patients receiving an urgent after-hours (unsociable hours) service (under Subgroup 29 of MBS Group A40);
- patients who are seeking assistance with smoking cessation (under Subgroups 1, 2 and 3 of MBS Group A45); or
- patients of medical practitioners at an Aboriginal Medical Service or an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service; or
- people isolating because of a COVID-related State or Territory public health order, or in COVID-19 quarantine because of a State or Territory public health order (NB: This provision is retained in the regulation but is idle until activated by jurisdictions implementing relevant public health orders).
- From 22 February 2022, in response to catastrophic natural disaster, patients living in affected regions that have been identified by States and Territories will have unrestricted access to GP telehealth services.
- From 1 July 2021, an exemption applies to patients accessing specific MBS items for:
- blood borne viruses, sexual or reproductive health consultations (under Subgroups 39 and 40 of MBS Group A40); or
- pregnancy counselling services (under Subgroups 15 and 16 of MBS Group A40).
- mental health planning and treatment services (focussed psychological strategies services under Subgroups 3, 10, 19 and 20 of Group A40);
- eating disorder planning and treatment services (under Subgroups 21, 25, 26, 27 and 28 of MBS Group A40); or
- items 93301, 93302, 93304, 93305, 93307, 93308, 93310, 93311, 93404 to 93411 and 93435 to 93442 (under MBS Groups A41 and A42).
- From 13 October 2022 to 31 December 2023, an exemption applies to patients who have received a positive COVID-19 test result within the last 7 days, confirmed by either:
- polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test; or
- a rapid antigen test (RAT) which has been approved for supply in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, including by self-test.
- From 24 December 2022 until 31 December 2023, an exemption applies to telehealth (video) and phone consultations for patients who:
- do not meet the established clinical relationship requirement; and
- are eligible for Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) criteria for antiviral therapy; and
- who are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms; and
- are seeking a request to a private pathologist for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing in relation to COVID-19.
You may read more about established clinical relationship and its exemptions here.
What are the telehealth item numbers?
For General Practitioner (GP) Services (as of 1 July 2021), you can bill the following:
After Hours Item Numbers – What can I bill?
You can bill Urgent After-Hours Attendance during Unsociable after-hours item numbers 92210 and 92211 for Telehealth via videoconference.
Any standards I need to meet?
Note: The information presented above has been gathered from the AHPRA, Department of Health and Aged Care, and MBS websites and has been updated as of 2023-09-19.
We Can Help You
Here at People Medical Consulting, we have a passion for guiding medical practitioners through their career pathways to Australia. We have extensive experience in assisting medical facilities in recruiting doctors from local and overseas who will best suit their requirements.
We provide Document Assistance for those requiring support for their PESCI with IME, ACRRM or RACGP, registration and all other mandatory AHPRA requirements, fellowship program related forms and letters, application for Medicare provider and prescriber numbers, application for 19AB or 19AA exemptions and preparation of employment documents.
If you’re looking for assistance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be glad to help you.
Information from this blog has been taken directly from: