Universal Telehealth extended through 2021
Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien has welcomed a $114 million investment in the upcoming federal Budget to extend Telehealth services until the end of the year.
“Over the last 12 months, Telehealth services have been life-changing for many people throughout Wide Bay, so I welcome the Coalition Government’s investment to ensure people can continue to access medical support through this service,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The extension will ensure that people in Wide Bay can continue to see their GP, renew scripts and seek mental health support from the safety of their own home, and importantly, it allows vulnerable Australians to feel protected and supported during these unprecedented times.”
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 despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.
From 13 March 2020 to 21 April 2021, over 54 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.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said Telehealth has played an important role in supporting Australians through the pandemic.
“We recognise that Telehealth continues to play an important role in supporting Australians through the pandemic, which is why as part of the 2021-22 Budget, we are extending Telehealth services to 31 December 2021,” Minister Hunt said.
“It is critical that Australians continue to look after their health and stay engaged with your primary care providers.”
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.