Medicare rebates for Telehealth consutlations

Jennifer Campain – Department of Health and Aging. Improving Access to specialist services through Medicare rebates.

I have to admit I’m still a bit confused about who and how you get a medicare rebate but these are the notes I took from this, and I’m told more information will be coming from the department soon and that the website is a great source of information.

Connecting Health Services with the future: Modernising Medicare by providing rebates for online consultations.

  • New medicare items for Telehealth services.
  • Removing barriers for Australians in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas.
  • $620M over 5years to support Medicare rebates for video consultations.

Financial incentive to adopt telehealth software and for training and education.

  • Males in regional and remote 1.2times more likely for mental health
  • Life expectancy 1-2yrs lower
  • 7years lower in remote areas, figures increase the more remote you are.

Key benefits are:

  • Post operative assessments,
  • discussion of diagnosis tests,
  • medication monitoring,
  • psychiatric consultations.

Big areas for people in aged care and want to care for them as well.

2002 telepsych available – low usage because of people not having the technology or training on how to use it.

So at patient end can be a nurse, aboriginal health worker or aged care worker – personal note here that I”m not sure this is strictly true, when I asked about this there was something about if they were registered as an exception instead of a GP – which I don’t really understand and any help on enlightening this subject would be great.

PN – If I live out in a rural area and I need to see a dermatologist I can arrange a consultation through my local practice and then have the video call with the specialist – who needs to sit with me in the room in order for the patient end to be OK ? If i had skype at home could I link directly with the specialist and it still get claimed for Medicare?

The patient venues and types of software have not been prescriptive intentionally to allow for trials of different solutions.

I wanted to ask – “Can you talk a little bit about the use of services like Skype and others where there may be a record kept overseas, how does that work in terms of the data privacy regulations for patient data being held overseas” But didn’t get a chance – anyone who can shed light on this again much appreciated.

Medicare fee structures – issues additional time, costs, complexity for practices who are not currently connected.

The service being provided at the patient end is new so new items for rebates are there.

Incentives will address barrier, we realise many practises are already at capacity and do not have the time to implement new systems and train staff on how to use it.

Will Doctors be able to do this from home? This could be a great incentive for working mum specialist to be able to move some of their cases to be able to do this from home.

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