Physicians welcome expansion of telehealth

March 23, 2020

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement today to expand access to telehealth to cover services provided by vulnerable physicians.

From today, all vulnerable health professionals who are currently authorised to use telehealth item numbers will be able to use telehealth for all consultations with all their patients.

Professor John Wilson, President-elect of the RACP and Respiratory Physician said, “We welcome the Government’s swift action to expand access to telehealth Medicare items, as the College has been calling for.

“This means that vulnerable physicians will be able to continue providing care to their patients without risking infection.”

The expansion includes health care providers who are:

  • Aged at least 70 years old
  • Indigenous and aged at least 50 years old
  • Pregnant
  • A parent of a child under 12 months
  • Immune compromised
  • Have a chronic medical condition that results in increased risk from coronavirus infection.

 “As hospitals come under increasing pressure due to COVID 19, patients must be able to safely access specialist care in the community – and specialists must be able to provide this care without compromising their health.

“We look forward to working with the Government on the next stage of telehealth expansion to all patients.

“Private practice physicians and paediatricians are an essential part of the Australian health system. It is absolutely critical that our healthcare workers both inside and outside hospitals are able to continue to do their jobs, safely.”

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