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Australia ends support for 128 telehealth items




Health leaders have since warned of some huge consequences of the change. Some changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule for telehealth items in Australia – including the termination of 128 items, amendment of 17 items, and the addition of two more items – have taken effect this week.


The changes come following the recommendations by the MBS Review Taskforce. In a statement, the Department of Health claimed the changes in telehealth items, along with items for COVID-19, bulk billing incentives, surgery and others, will “ensure services are clinically appropriate; reflect modern clinical practice; improve quality of care and safety for patients; and increase access to services”.

Among those removed are video telehealth items that were introduced in 2011 for remote areas and specific settings and offered by GPs, medical specialists, midwives and nurse practitioners – except those provided by Aboriginal health workers, practice nurses and optometrists.The 2002 telepsychiatry items will be replaced by video telehealth items introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, while inpatient telehealth items introduced in September 2021 will no longer be available.Although there are two new extended telephone consultation items for attendances 20 minutes or longer for patients in rural and remote […]

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