Over the last 12 months, Telehealth services have been life changing for many in need of support, which is why as part of the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government is investing more than $114 million to extend Telehealth until the end of the year.
Telehealth items were rapidly implemented in March 2020 to ensure our primary care sector could continue to function and that Australians could continue to access important health services.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said Telehealth has played an important role in supporting Australians through the pandemic.
“The extension will ensure that Australians can continue to see their GP, renew scripts and seek mental health support from the safety of their own home. This allows vulnerable Australians to feel protected and supported during these unprecedented times,” Minister Hunt said.
“It is critical that Australians continue to look after their health and stay engaged with your primary care providers.”
From 13 March 2020 to 21 April 2021, over 56 million COVID-19 MBS telehealth services have been delivered to 13.6 million patients, with $2.9 billion in Medicare benefits paid. More than 83,540 providers have used telehealth services.
The extension of Telehealth includes services for general practitioners, medical practitioners, specialists, consultant physicians, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied health providers and dental practitioners.
The Government continues to work with peak bodies to co-design permanent post pandemic Telehealth as part of broader primary care reforms to modernise Medicare and provide flexibility of access to primary and allied healthcare services.