Permanent Telehealth information for Health Care providers

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Introduction of permanent telehealth arrangements for health care providers from 1 January 2022

On 13 December 2021, the Government announced permanent telehealth arrangements will be introduced from 1 January 2022. These arrangements will flow through to DVA health care arrangements.

Now that the risk of COVID-19 has been reduced, transitioning to permanent arrangements is intended to promote high quality health care for patients while still enabling access to telehealth where clinically appropriate and consistent with whole-of-government arrangements.

Requests for telehealth treatment outside of DVA’s permanent arrangements may be considered under DVA’s usual prior approval arrangements on a case by case basis.

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General Practitioners

The DVA Fee Schedules for Medical Services have been updated to mirror the permanent Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) telehealth arrangements. Further details on the new items, including patient and provider eligibility, can be found on the MBS Online website. Any queries related to the interpretation of these new MBS items should be directed to askMBS [at] health.gov.au.

The DVA fee schedules and medical software vendor files are located on the DVA website.

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Veterans’ Access Payment and telehealth

In addition to the permanent telehealth arrangements, as a General Practitioner (GP) you may claim a supplementary VAP for services you provide to eligible veterans and dependants. You can claim VAP using the Medicare bulk billing incentive item numbers. The VAP is also payable with GP telehealth items using DVA specific item numbers.

On 1 January 2022 the Department of Health introduced additional bulk billing incentive item numbers for rural and remote patients based on their Modified Monash Model (MMM) classification. More details on the Veterans Access Payments are located on the Incentive payments for General Practitioners page.

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Medical Specialists services

The DVA Fee Schedules for Medical Services have been updated to mirror the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) telehealth arrangements. Further details on the new items, including patient and provider eligibility, can be found on the MBS Online website. Any queries related to the interpretation of the permanent telehealth MBS items should be directed to askMBS [at] health.gov.au

The DVA fee schedules and medical software vendor files are located on the DVA website.

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Allied Health providers

Allied health services (except dental, optical and neuropsychology services) can continue to be delivered to DVA clients under permanent telehealth arrangements.

From 1 January 2022, eligible allied health professionals will be able to claim for telehealth services under the new fee schedules and in accordance with the updated Notes for Allied Health Providers - Section One – General.

In developing permanent telehealth arrangements DVA has considered the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce’s telehealth principles, clinical evidence and advice from DVA contracted clinical advisors. The following principles were used to underpin DVA policy for its permanent arrangements:

  • Telehealth services are not intended to replace in-person services and can be provided to clients who have an established clinical relationship with the provider.
    • Telehealth services are only available for subsequent consultations – initial and extended consultations should be undertaken in person.
  • Telehealth services can only be provided if the full service can be delivered safely and in accordance with all relevant professional standards and clinical guidelines.
    • Telephone consultations can only be provided where videoconferencing is not available.
    • Some telehealth services should only be delivered by videoconference not telephone.
    • Group therapy cannot be delivered by telehealth.
    • Services requiring specialised equipment or facilities cannot be delivered by telehealth.
    • Services requiring assessment of the client’s residence or site inspection of their home cannot be delivered by telehealth.
  • Telehealth items are also claimable for telehealth services delivered to clients in hospital or residential aged care facilities, for services not requiring prior approval.

Treatment cycle arrangements continue to apply to allied health services delivered by telehealth.

Permanent allied telehealth arrangements will be reviewed 12 months after implementation to ensure arrangements remain appropriate and address any issues that may have arisen. 

Updated fee schedules are available on the Dental and allied health fee schedules webpage and update Notes for Allied Health Providers - Section OneGeneral are available on the Notes for allied health providers webpage.

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Private Hospital Sector - hospitals that provide mental health and rehabilitation day programs

From 1 January 2022, the temporary arrangements for the delivery of hospital rehabilitation and mental health day programs through telehealth have ceased and access to these program will be through pre COVID-19 arrangements.

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