New telehealth MBS item numbers

  14 July 2021  Australian Government Department of Health   

Medicare’s temporary COVID-19 telehealth services have been extended for eligible health practitioners until 31 December 2021.

From 1 July 2021, the broad range of telehealth telephone items for GPs and OMPs established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been removed, and a smaller number of MBS items have been introduced for:

  • a short telephone consultation item (less than six minutes) for straightforward care, such as repeat prescriptions and diagnostic referrals; and
  • a longer telephone consultation item (six minutes and over) for more complex attendances.

MBS telephone consultations for a range of:

  • mental health treatment services, including longer consultations, will be retained to ensure people experiencing barriers accessing video based services continue to receive timely and appropriate mental health care. Longer telephone items for mental health treatment will continue to be available until 31 December 2021, to ensure timely access to essential mental health services.
  • other health service providers such as specialists, nurse practitioners and allied health providers are unchanged.

The GP video items will continue to mirror the Medicare items for face to face services.

Further information on ‘COVID-19 Temporary MBS Telehealth Services’ is available on MBS Online.

GPs and OMPs working in general practice can only perform a telehealth service where they have an established clinical relationship with the patient, with limited exemptions. From 1 July 2021, additional exemptions to this requirement were introduced for patients accessing specific MBS items for pregnancy counselling and blood borne viruses, sexual or reproductive health. New items for blood borne viruses, sexual or reproductive health services have been created to support this activity. A separate fact sheet on these new items is available.