Telehealth services to be extended by the Government throughout 2021
Telehealth services have been life-changing for many who are in need of medical support. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting face-to-face interactions, it was the Government’s solution to the people’s need to have easy access to healthcare.
Because of its huge success last year, the Australian Government decided to include Telehealth in the 2021-22 Budget and invest more than $144 million to extend it until the end of the year.
The Government rapidly implemented Telehealth items in March 2020 to ensure the primary care sector could still function despite the circumstances. It was also implemented so that Australians could continue to access important health services.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said Telehealth has played an important role in supporting Australians through the pandemic.
“The extension will ensure that Australians can continue to see their GP, renew scripts and seek mental health support from the safety of their own home. This allows vulnerable Australians to feel protected and supported during these unprecedented times,” Minister Hunt said.
“It is critical that Australians continue to look after their health and stay engaged with your primary care providers.”
From 13 March 2020 to 21 April 2021, over 56 million COVID-19 MBS telehealth services have been delivered to 13.6 million patients, with $2.9 billion in Medicare benefits paid. Also, more than 83,540 providers have used telehealth services throughout the same period.
The extension of Telehealth includes services for general practitioners, medical practitioners, specialists, consultant physicians, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied health providers and dental practitioners.
The Government continues to work with other organisations to co-design a permanent post-pandemic Telehealth. This is part of the Government’s broader primary care reforms to modernise Medicare and provide flexibility of access to primary and allied healthcare services.