Most MBS telehealth items extended without change

To allay any confusion and with the end of the financial year upon us, the AMA wants to assure members the MBS telehealth items can be used until the end of the year.

As part of the 2021-22 Federal Budget, the Health Minister announced the extension of the COVID-19 telehealth items until 31 December 2021. The extension is for temporary telehealth services provided by general practitioners, medical practitioners, non-GP specialists, consultant physicians, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied health providers and dental practitioners.

The current “relationship rule” for GP specialists will remain in place for most items. Although telehealth services for the following will be exempt from the rule:

·         Smoking cessation consultations;

·         Section 100 PBS prescriptions;

·         Sexual and reproductive health consultations;

·         Pregnancy counselling;

·         Drug and alcohol counselling.

MBS items for video consultation with a GP have been extended without change, but patients who need to access a GP via phone will be limited to a Level A or Level B equivalent as the Government seeks to encourage video consultations over phone consultations. A number of mental health treatment services, including those involving longer consultations delivered by telephone will also be retained. This will include items such as 92126, 92127, 91842 and 91843.

The Department of Health has advised the AMA that MBS telehealth items for non-GP specialists will remain unchanged as part of the extension of these items to the end of the year.

All pre-COVID-19 non-GP specialist telehealth items will remain on the MBS for the duration of the extension period.

Whilst the Department of Health has not yet updated the information online regarding the extension of the MBS telehealth items, the AMA has urged them to do so as a matter of priority.

Please check the MBS website over the coming weeks for further updates.

The AMA will continue to work with Government to make the telehealth items permanent.

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