Medicare Rebates for Telehealth services in remote areas will be expanding from 1 November 2019 to include General Consultations conducted via video. Those GPs delivering video consultations in Modified Monash Model areas 6 and 7 will be able to access Medicare rebates for general consultations. That’s good news for people living in remote areas and represents an opportunity for savvy practitioners looking to expand their service offerings.
A range of Medicare rebates have been available for other Telehealth services in remote areas for some time these are:
1. Medicare Rebates for Specialist Video Consultations
Medicare rebates are available for video consultations between specialists and patients in telehealth eligible areas. The rebate is also available for patients in eligible aged care facilities as well as Aboriginal Medical Services.
How does it work?
Firstly, the patient must reside in a telehealth eligible area. A GP can refer a patient to a Specialist for a consultation via telehealth. Video conferencing technology must be utilised so that the patient and specialist can see and hear each other during the consultation. The GP or another health professional may claim a Medicare rebate if they are with the patient during the Specialist video consultation.
Who can provide telehealth services?
The full range of medical specialties can claim Medicare rebates for video consultations. Some medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, midwives, practice nurses and Aboriginal health workers are also entitled to the Medicare rebate for video consultations.
2. Better Access to Telehealth Initiative
The Better Access Telehealth services program was introduced to provide people living in rural and remote areas of Australia with increased choice and access to mental health services.
These services apply to
Changes that were effective on 1 November 2018, allowed General Practitioners and Medical Practitioners that met the Medicare mental health skills training and accreditation, to also deliver services under the Better Access Telehealth initiative.
What services are included?
Medicare rebates are available for up to ten individual or ten group mental health therapy services per calendar year. Patients must have an assessed mental disorder and be referred by: – a General Practitioner managing the patient under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan; or – a psychiatrist or paediatrician. The ten individual services may consist of focussed psychological strategies, or psychological therapy services.
What locations are included
The Better Access Telehealth items are available to people living in regional and remote areas within the Modified Monash Model (areas 4-7).
In order for the service to be eligible under the Better Access to Telehealth program the patient must be eligible for Medicare rebates, a non-admitted patient and located in the Telehealth approved region. The patients also must be at least 15 kilometres from the treating health practitioner at the time of consultation.
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