On 11 May 2021, the College welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement confirming the extension of the temporary COVID-19 telehealth psychiatry items until the end of 2021 as part of the 2021-22 Federal Budget.
This extension includes retention of all temporary COVID-19 Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) telehealth item numbers as well as existing telehealth item numbers, including MBS Item 288 (rural telehealth loading).
On 30 June 2021, the Federal Government announced the update of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Fee Schedules for Medical Services, to mirror the extension of temporary MBS telehealth arrangements until 31 December 2021.
The College is committed to continuing its advocacy via the Telehealth Advocacy Steering Group for a permanent MBS telehealth model. The President continues to meet regularly with the Department of Health to discuss the future of MBS telehealth items. Additionally, we are revising the Professional Practice Guidelines for Telehealth in Psychiatry.