Report backs AMA’s calls to make telehealth permanent

3 Sep 2020

An interim Parliamentary Committee report from The Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, has backed the AMA’s calls to make telehealth a permanent component of the Australian health system, and for e-prescribing to be implemented as quickly as possible. 

“The AMA has long advocated for Medicare-subsidised telehealth consultations, and temporary Medicare COVID-19 arrangements have shown the value of telehealth,” AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid said. 

“The telehealth items have supported the provision of care during these very difficult times, and have been embraced by patients and doctors.” 

The AMA is in discussions with the Commonwealth Government about the long-term future of Medicare-funded telehealth for patients who need to see their GP or non-GP specialist. Until arrangements are finalised, the AMA has called for the extension of the temporary telehealth items, which are due to expire at the end of this month, until March next year. 

Dr Khorshid also welcomed the Government’s commitment to the rapid roll-out of e-prescribing, and said the AMA wants to see the extension of temporary COVID-19 arrangements that have allowed pharmacists to dispense medication using a digital image of a prescription. 

“The AMA is keen to see the Government make a decision on the extension of these temporary arrangements as soon as possible. Practices are already taking appointments for October and beyond,” Dr Khorshid said.  

“Practices and patients alike need certainty about the availability of telehealth, particularly for vulnerable patients.” 

Read the full media release here.