Over the last 12 months, Telehealth services have been life changing for many in need of support, which is why as part of the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government is investing more than $114 million to extend Telehealth until the end of the year.
Telehealth items were rapidly implemented in March 2020 to ensure our primary care sector could continue to function and that Australians could continue to access important health services.
Member for Barker, Tony Pasin, welcomed the Government’s commitment to Australian patients.
“Over the last 12 months, Telehealth services have been life changing for many in need of support,” Mr Pasin said.
“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.”
From 13 March 2020 to 21 April 2021, over 54 million COVID-19 MBS telehealth services have been delivered to 13.6 million patients, with $2.9 billion in Medicare benefits paid. More than 83,540 providers have used telehealth services.
The extension of Telehealth includes services for general practitioners, medical practitioners, specialists, consultant physicians, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied health providers and dental practitioners.
Dr Jeff Taylor at Kingcraig Medical Clinic said over the past sixteen months he has experienced radical transformation in the delivery of medical care with the utilisation of the item numbers for Telehealth.
“Teleheath has revolutionised patient care. The Federal Government was able to enact this in a very short period of time, as previously elderly patients would have to come out to the medial clinic and be seen by a doctor.”
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said Telehealth has played an important role in supporting Australians through the pandemic.
“We recognise that Telehealth continues to play an important role in supporting Australians through the pandemic,” Minister Hunt said. “Which is why as part of the 2021-22 Budget, we are extending Telehealth services to 31 December 2021.”
“It is critical that Australians continue to look after their health and stay engaged with your primary care providers.”
The Government continues to work with peak bodies to co-design permanent post pandemic Telehealth as part of broader primary care reforms to modernise Medicare and provide flexibility of access to primary and allied healthcare services.