COVID-19 information for veterans about telehealth

On 20 July 2020, the Australian Government made changes to telehealth services provided by general practitioners.

20 July 2020

From 20 July 2020, general practitioners (GPs) will be required to have an existing and continuous relationship with a patient in order to provide telehealth services funded through Medicare and DVA arrangements.

This change responds to advice from medical experts, such as the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and will ensure patients continue to receive quality, ongoing care from a GP who knows their medical history and needs.

How will GP visits change?

DVA clients can continue to access face-to-face GP services from a doctor of their choice. DVA clients who wish to receive telehealth services from 20 July 2020 will need to have had at least one face-to-face service with their GP or another doctor at that clinic in the last 12 months.

Exemptions to this requirement will apply to:

  • infants under the age of 12 months;
  • people experiencing homelessness; and
  • people living in a COVID-19 impacted area;
  • urgent after-hours services (in unsociable hours); and
  • services provided by a medical practitioner located at an Aboriginal Medical Service or an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service

Are telehealth services changing for allied health or specialist treatment?

There are no changes to existing telehealth arrangements for allied health or medical specialist telehealth services.

However, DVA clients are reminded of the requirement that referrals for allied health services may only be provided by the client’s usual GP. This means a GP (or another GP in the same practice) who:

  • has provided the majority of care to the DVA client over the previous twelve months; or
  • will provide the majority of care to the DVA client over the next twelve months.

Telehealth or online GP services which have not provided regular clinical care to the DVA client are not able to issue valid referrals for DVA-funded allied health services.

Need more information?

For more information about what the changes to telehealth services means for veterans and their families, contact DVA on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372).