Vulnerable patients are at risk of missing health care this winter unless the federal government discontinues plans to reduce Medicare’s rebate for telemedicine and seeks greater patient flexibility.
Health Minister Mark Butler said the Albany government is seeking advice on an “extended option” rebate for longer telephone consultations that will expire on June 30 under the policy of the former Morrison government. rice field.
Dozens of telemedicine rebates will be abolished on July 1, including more than 20 minutes of telephone consultations with general practitioners, initial consultations with specialists, and some disabled and mental health services.
Karen Price, an associate professor at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said the government would make telephone consultations with the GP a “permanent facility for telemedicine” to give patients with complex needs access to the care they need. I asked for it.
“This is easy,” Price said.
“Removing Medicare rebates for longer telephone consultations is especially important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, elderly patients, people with disabilities, and people living in already poor health areas and remote areas. It’s harmful. “
“Patients cannot afford to lose access to COVID-19 telemedicine because access to health care will be more difficult, especially for vulnerable people,” said Omar Holsid, President of the Australian Medical Association.
Telephone consultations accounted for 98% of all telemedicine services provided by the GP in 2020-21.
The Australian National Audit Office is considering expanding telemedicine services, which began as a temporary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The future of telemedicine is uncertain as doctors are asking for a fixed Medicare rebate
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