College responds to telehealth post implementation review (Australia)

The College has responded to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Advisory Committee (MRAC) Telehealth Post Implementation Review draft report. This review was requested by the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP, to inform potential changes to MBS telehealth since the implementation of permanent MBS telehealth items in January 2022. 

In its submission the College called for: 

  • Removing recommendation 9 of the report that would make initial consultation specialist MBS items available only face-to-face, with subsequent consultations available through telephone or video at the clinician’s discretion. The College has strongly argued that, if implemented, this will have significant detrimental impacts regarding accessibility for people requiring psychiatry services, particularly in rural and remote areas where face-to-face consultations may not be practicable or possible. 
  • Shifting the preference of video over phone telehealth consultations by reinstating expired MBS telephone items, such as MBS 91840, to support those experiencing financial disadvantage or with minimal levels of digital literacy and priority populations.
  • Appointing a psychiatrist to the MRAC to ensure that future considerations are informed from a perspective of psychiatry services. 

The RANZCP continues to support the delivery of high-quality, equitable and safe telehealth consultations to patients.

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