New temporary Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) telehealth items are now available to a wide range of health providers as part of the response to reducing the risk of community transmission of COVID-19.

The extension of the MBS telehealth items allows a greater number of health care providers to use video or phone calls for consultations with their patients.

The new MBS items were effective from 13 March 2020 and will be in place until 30 September 2020. All consultations must be bulk billed and are for non-admitted patients.

Please note that a service may only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.

Who can access the MBS telehealth items

MBS telehealth items are now available for the following providers:

  • General practitioners
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners
  • Allied health providers
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Psychologists
  • Obstetricians
  • Midwives
  • Specialists and consultant physicians
  • Psychiatrists
  • Practice nurses

The items list is being regularly updated. Please refer to the MBS website for the latest details.

For further details, see also the HealthPathways COVID-19 Telehealth page

What constitutes telehealth

Under the new temporary items, video consultations are the preferred method for telehealth. However, audio-only consultations are also permitted. There are separate item numbers for each.

For further information refer to RACGP’s Guide to providing telephone and video consultations in general practice.

How to access a telehealth service

There is no specific hardware or application requirement to provide Medicare-compliant telehealth services.

Western Victoria PHN can facilitate the use of Healthdirect Video Call.  This service is available to health care providers who are providing services under MBS. Contact Western Victoria PHN for account creation and setup support.

Private health  care providers can contact Healthdirect by emailing videocall@healthdirect.org.au

Telehealth for psychological therapy services

Eligible patients with a mental health treatment plan in rural and remote areas may be able to access mental health support via video conference.

This is available through the Federal Government’s Better Access initiative

Templates and instructions

More information

Contact Western Victoria PHN’s Digital Health team

Last modified: 11 May, 2020