CEO Primary Matters – 14 July 2021

New Exposure Site and Pop-up Testing 

While it is disappointing a new COVID-19 exposure site has been identified in our region, it is great to see our health services have actioned this quickly and organised pop-up testing in Ballan.  

As primary health care providers in the region you are extremely well positioned to both seek information from patients and their families who may need to take action related to this exposure site, as well as to promote immediate isolation and urgent testing of patients. 

The new COVID-19 exposure site identified in western Victoria is below:  

Ballan Mobil Service Station/McDonalds, Western Freeway (westbound)
Tier 1 exposure site
Thursday 8th July 5pm-7pm 

Please encourage your patients to attend the pop-up testing location below: 

Ballan Railway Station Car park
Wednesday 14th July 9am-6pm 

For more information, please see the article in Westvic News.  

Community Consultation on Primary Health and Mental Health Services 

Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN) is inviting health professionals and community members to share their ideas to help guide how WVPHN designs, funds and coordinates services for health care across the region. 

Among our key roles is to appoint health providers to deliver support throughout our region for a range of primary health care services. These include for mental health, chronic conditions management, and alcohol and other drugs support services.  

During July and August, we are seeking input from anyone who currently receives such services or has an interest in how services funded by WVPHN are delivered in the future. 

For more information and to register for a face-to-face workshop in your area or an online workshop, please see the article in Westvic News or visit our website here 

MBS Telehealth Changes  

From 1 July, there are changes to the MBS items for GPs and Other Medical Practitioners that will affect the way in which Telehealth Services are undertaken until 31 December 2021.  

Detailed information can be found HERE 

Telephone items will be streamlined to align with how they are commonly used by providers and expert advice on the use of telephone-based services. This means that the broad range of telephone services established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be replaced with a smaller number of MBS items. 

For more information on these changes, please see this week’s article in Westvic News.  

Updating of MBS Items for Pre-vaccination Consultations 

The Medical Benefits Schedule items that allow GPs and other medical practitioners to provide in-depth clinical assessments of a patient’s individual health risks and benefits prior to a COVID-19 vaccination have been updated. 

Previously available for patients aged 50 years and over, Medicare items 10660 and 10661 are now available for all patients, regardless of age. 

The Federal Minister for Health has also announced a COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme will be established to ensure GPs, nurses and pharmacists administering COVID vaccines as part of the Commonwealth vaccination program have appropriate indemnity coverage. 

For more details, read the Minister’s media release 

National Diabetes Week  

This week is National Diabetes Week (running until 17 July) and I encourage health professionals in western Victoria to visit the HealthPathways diabetes pages 

WVPHN, in partnership with Kidney Health Australia, is also hosting a Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes webinar on 22 July from 6.30pm – 7.30pm presented by nephrologist Dr Karen Dwyer.  

This year, Diabetes Australia’s Heads Up campaign focuses on diabetes stigma and mental health.  

  • More than 4 in 5 people with diabetes have experienced diabetes stigma.  
  • Nearly 50 per cent of people with diabetes have experienced mental health challenges in the last 12 months.  

For more information on this year’s campaign visit the Diabetes Australia website 

Rowena Clift  

Chief Executive Officer