As the pandemic continues so should telehealth funding

With a 1 July funding cut-off looming the AMA calls on the federal government to extend funding forCOVID-19 telehealth services.

The AMA called on the federal government this week to extend Medicare funding for some COVID-19 telehealth services due to be to cut on 1 July as a result of a decision by the former federal government.

Without a funding extension telephone consultations (in particular) will be affected.

Dr Khorshid told The Age patients “cannot afford to lose access to COVID-19 telehealth as it will make access to medical care more difficult, particularly for vulnerable populations”.

In a media release Dr Khorshid said the country was still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic with tens of thousands of cases still being reported every day, hundreds of people hospitalised and a significant number of deaths.

“Last week the Commonwealth acknowledged the ongoing impact of COVID-19 by extending the COVID-19 National Partnership Agreement covering hospital funding until the end of year. Medicare funded COVID-19 telehealth services should be treated in the same way.”

Dr Khorshid said governments needed to be responsive to the ongoing situation and adapt as circumstances change.

He told Perth Live the looming cut-off was a result of the previous federal government “having set an expiry date on something and a new government coming in that hasn't had a real chance yet to get their head around whether telehealth should continue in this way or not”.

Dr Khorshid said the AMA would “like to see these changes actually baked into the permanent sort of design of Medicare and telehealth. But that's a conversation we'll be having with the new Health Minister, Mark Butler”.

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