Advertising


News

In Practice: COVID telehealth expansion


Matt Woodley


29/06/2023 3:12:07 PM

More patients with a high risk of severe illness are now exempt from the pre-existing relationship rule.

Sick person
The definition of a person who meets the PBS criteria for COVID‑19 antiviral therapy is expanding, which impacts telehealth rules.

This week’s In Practice also includes information on upcoming changes to the National Immunisation Program (NIP), details on plastic and reconstructive surgery MBS item changes, winter planning updates and RACGP Plus discounts.
 
Expansion of eligibility for MBS telehealth items
The Federal Government has passed legislation that will make more patients exempt from having a pre-existing relationship with a GP when seeking PCR testing.
 
Currently, patients who meet the PBS criteria for antiviral therapy, are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms, and are seeking a request to a private pathologist for PCR testing in relation to COVID-19 are exempt from the established clinical relationship requirement until 31 December.
 
However, the definition of a person who meets the PBS criteria for COVID‑19 antiviral therapy is set to expand and will soon include people who are:

  • aged 60 and over with at least one additional risk factor
  • aged 18 and over and have previously been hospitalised from COVID-19.
This is in addition to the existing criteria of people who are:
 
  • 70 years of age or older
  • 50 years of age or older with at least two additional risk factors
  • of First Nations descent, 30 years of age or older and with at least one additional risk factor
  • 18 years of age or older and moderately-to-severely immunocompromised.
Upcoming changes to the National Immunisation Program 
Changes being made to the NIP this year include:
 
  • a new listing of Vaxelis vaccine as an alternative DTPa-hepB-IPV-Hib vaccine for children at two, four and six months of age (effective from 1 July)
  • the introduction of the Shingrix vaccine for prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) and post-herpetic neuralgia to replace Zostavax, pending regulatory approvals (effective from 1 November). 
An updated NIP schedule along with further guidance and advice on the upcoming changes will be published on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website on 1 July. Providers can receive the latest NIP updates by subscribing to the NIP email list.
 
July 1 Plastic and reconstructive surgery MBS item changes
From 1 July, changes will be applied to approximately 360 MBS items for plastic and reconstructive surgery services.
 
Burns items 30003 and 30006 will have their descriptions amended and a new item 30007 will be created involving burns covering 10% or more of the body’s surface. The new item descriptions are listed in a new MBS fact sheet and MBS mapping document.
 
MBS items for skin excision (including 31340, 31356, 31358, 31359, 31361, 31363, 31367, 31369) and skin flap (including 45000, 45003, 45200, 45201, 45203, 45206 and 45207) will be amended to include co-claiming restrictions with the new clinically suspected items for melanoma excision services, which were implemented in November 2022.
 
Further information relating to amendments to skin excision and skin flap items can be found in the new MBS fact sheet.
 
Winter Planning Toolkit
The RACGP has updated its Winter Planning Toolkit, which aims to help practices consider winter preparedness activities that can be implemented for the health and safety of patients and practice staff.
 
The toolkit uses a modular structure and is a ‘go-to’ resource for up-to-date information on winter readiness, preparation for heightened spread of viruses, vaccination, and infection prevention and control.
 
Members with questions or feedback about the toolkit can contact standards@racgp.org.au.
 
RACGP Standards for health services in Australian prisons (2nd edition)
The Standards for health services in Australian prisons (2nd edition) is now available on the RACGP website.
 
They support health professionals and their employer organisations to provide high quality healthcare to people in Australian prisons. The first edition of these standards was published in 2011.
 
The Prison Standards were developed by the RACGP Working Group – Standards for health services in Australian prisons and endorsed by the RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices
 
RACGP Plus discounts
Make the most of your RACGP membership by taking advantage of discounts and offers from a range of partners through RACGP Plus.
 
This month, members can access end-of-financial-year bonus accessories and extra discounts on Dermlite Dermatoscopes from Macquarie Medical Systems.
 
Find out more on the RACGP Plus website.
 
Log in below to join the conversation.



COVID-19 MBS plastic and reconstructive surgery Vaccination winter planning


newsGP weekly poll What is your chief concern with role substitution?
 
8%
 
0%
 
4%
 
0%
 
7%
 
1%
 
1%
 
75%
Related



newsGP weekly poll What is your chief concern with role substitution?

Advertising

Advertising


Login to comment