Physicians welcome Government health response package COVID-19

March 11 2020

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has welcomed the Federal Government’s $2.4 billion health response package to manage the impacts of COVID 19 in our population and on our health system. 

In particular we welcome the $100 million to fund a new Medicare service for people in home isolation or quarantine as a result of coronavirus, so that these patients can receive health consultations via phone or video.

Supporting telehealth as a form of communication not just for GPs but also for our specialist physicians including paediatricians is particularly important as they have an important role to play in the national response to COVID 19 not only in our hospitals but also in community settings.

These new Medicare items will allow both GPs and specialists as well as allied health workers, to provide telehealth consultation services to these patients, and also to people aged over 70, people with chronic diseases, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50, people who are immunocompromised, pregnant people and new parents with babies.

Telehealth enables our physicians and paediatricians to consult with patients without risking further spread of COVID 19 to themselves or their other patients. It also reduces barriers for patients to access medical care and advice at a time where our health system will be placed under incredible pressure.

The RACP will continue to work with the Minister and Department of Health in managing the outbreak of COVID 19.

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