13 Feb 2022

Telehealth is dead! So many people who are not able to use new technology will suffer.

 The use of technology in providing health is a step forward, yet the government is blind. Phone consultations, their use saves lives and money!

Leading health bodies urge the federal government to replace “mayhem” changes to Medicare Benefits Schedule telehealth arrangements that hit vulnerable patients as Covid cases surge.

The changes, that came into effect on 1 January, will restrict phone consultations for a long list of specialist items in favour of video conferencing or face-to-face appointments. Video is beyond many aged and those with disability.

The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) president and medical oncologist, Prof Fran Boyle, said the timing of the changes was “appalling” considering the dramatic increases in Covid cases across the nation.

She said the changes to MBS item numbers, intended to help people with cancer and other illnesses, would limit access to care for vulnerable demographics, particularly in remote areas.

Telehealth services were dramatically expanded as a temporary Covid measure in March last year, to reduce community transmission and protect patients and health care providers.

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