On this page:
- Telehealth for COVID-19 – new MBS item numbers
- Healthdirect video calling
- Updates to testing recommendations
- Distribution of masks
- Respiratory clinics
Telehealth – new MBS item numbers
Please note: the following information has been developed as a general guide based on guidelines as at 30 March 2020.
In response to COVID-19, temporary Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) items for video (telehealth) and phone consultations have been introduced. Telehealth consultations allow health care providers to offer their clinical services via video or phone consultations. Consumers can connect with their health care providers in a convenient location such as home or work using everyday devices such as smartphones, tablets or a desktop computer.
Some key points about the new item numbers include:
- from 30 March 2020 telehealth consultation items are available to all Australians who are not admitted to hospital
- consultations can be either video teleconferencing or telephone attendance for General Practitioners, specialists, consultant physicians, obstetricians, consultant psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, allied health mental health workers and midwives
- the item numbers are temporary and are available for 6 months until 30 September 2020
- these item numbers must be bulk billed (note that bulk billed items attract a bulk-billing incentive for Commonwealth Concession Card holders and children aged under 16 years)
- patients are required to consent to their service being bulk-billed
- providers offering services from home isolation or quarantine should use their provider number for their primary location and must provide safe services in accordance with normal professional standards.
Telehealth – help for your patients
Telehealth consultations are a new way of providing care for both primary health practitioners and patients. To help our region prepare for the recent increase in telehealth appointments, Brisbane South PHN has developed a short animated video to help patients understand what telehealth is and prepare for a telehealth appointment. The video is available to view here and is in simple English with subtitles.
For further information about the new telehealth item numbers, eligibility criteria and appointment types please visit the following links:
Healthdirect video calling
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Brisbane South PHN is pleased to advise that we are able to provide primary health care providers with complimentary access to Healthdirect Video Call service until June 2020.
Healthdirect Video Call is a platform that allows health care providers to offer their services via a video consultation. Video call provides a single consistent entry point on the service’s webpage for all patients, where they enter an online waiting area for their appointment. For further information download Healthdirect’s Video Call fact sheet or view a video about introducing Healthdirect video call into your health service.
Benefits of using Healthdirect video call include:
- purpose-built for health settings, integrating with health care workflow
- supports workflow that is familiar to consumers and health care providers
- easy access for patients using their own device
- secure, using high-quality encrypted video technology.
To get started, please fill out the form on our website with the details needed to set up your account.
We recommend familiarising yourself with the new MBS telehealth items which can be utilised for telehealth consultations.
For further information, please contact Brisbane South PHN, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates to testing recommendations
As of 24 April 2020, the Chief Health Officer has announced expansion of PCR testing for COVID-19 in Queensland. Testing (PCR) should now be undertaken for anyone in Queensland with fever (≥38°C) OR history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills) OR acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat). The person being tested should be isolated pending test results.
For more information, read the Queensland Government guidelines for the assessment and management of patients with suspected COVID-19, and read the latest CDNA National guidelines including release from isolation updates.
For the latest clinical practice guidelines in the Brisbane south region, please refer to SpotOnHealth Healthpathways.
Distribution of masks
Brisbane South PHN is distributing surgical and P2/N95 masks from the national emergency stockpile on behalf of the Australian Government.
We thank you for your patience as we process high volumes of requests as quickly as possible. As you know, stocks of masks are limited. Please follow the process below to assist us in triaging your request:
- Surgical mask requests – Brisbane South PHN stocks are only available for general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), community pharmacy, Medical Deputising Services and a limited supply for allied health professionals. There is limited stock available to Brisbane South PHN. To request surgical masks, please complete this form. For further information regarding PPE distribution through PHN’s, please click here.
- P2/N95 Respirator requests – Brisbane South PHN has a limited supply available only to primary care providers (i.e. General Practitioners or nurses) currently undertaking COVID-19 specimen collection. There is limited stock available to Brisbane South PHN. To request access to P2/N95 respirators, please complete this form. For further information regarding PPE distribution through PHN’s, please click here.
A fact sheet on the use of surgical masks in accordance with the AHPPC national guidelines on the prevention and control of coronavirus outbreak is available here.
The Australian Government is establishing respiratory clinics around the country to assess people with fever, cough, a sore throat, or shortness of breath. Respiratory clinics facilitate the testing and management of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. If a respiratory clinic patient has a regular GP, the GP will be included in follow-up care as indicated.
The following respiratory clinics are now open in the Brisbane south region: