MBS Telehealth Services

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From 13 March 2020 to 30 September 2020 (inclusive), new temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.


Note: This information is general in nature. It is ultimately the responsibility of treating practitioners to use their professional judgment to determine the most clinically appropriate services to provide, and then to ensure that any services billed to Medicare fully meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the legislation.
 


Fact Sheets

 

Quick Guides

 

Other Resources

COVID-19 MBS Telehealth Services FAQs

What MBS items are available for COVID-19?

The Australian Department of Health has made temporary telehealth and phone consultations available for General Practitioners, Other Medical Practitioners, Nurse Practitioners, Specialists, practice nurses, midwives and eligible Allied Health Practitioners.

Read our summary fact sheets and quick guides above for more information.

What are the eligibility criteria for using these items?

The temporary telehealth and phone COVID-19 MBS items can be used for all patients. However, the service must meet the definition of a telehealth attendance or phone attendance (check the definitions below).

General Practitioners and Other Medical Practitioners must bulk bill these items for patients with a concession card, patients vulnerable to COVID-19 or a child under 16 at the time the service is provided. The bulk billing incentive has also been doubled for these patients.

You must also ensure that you are claiming the items correctly by checking the full item descriptions available from http://www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/Home.
 

What is the Medicare definition of a telehealth and phone attendance?

  • telehealth attendance means a professional attendance by video conference where the health practitioner:
       - has the capacity to provide the full service through this means safely and in accordance with professional standards; and
       - is satisfied that it is clinically appropriate to provide the service to the patient; and
       - maintains a visual and audio link with the patient; and
       - is satisfied that the software and hardware used to deliver the service meets the applicable laws for security and privacy.
 
  • phone attendance means a professional attendance by telephone where the health practitioner:
       - has the capacity to provide the full service through this means safely and in accordance with professional standards; and
       - is satisfied that it is clinically appropriate to provide the service to the patient; and
       - maintains an audio link with the patient.

Is there an item for a preparing a Mental Health Treatment Plan or GP Management Plan via phone or telehealth?

Yes. Changes to the items on 30 March mean that now GPs and Medical Practitioners can now use the temporary COVID-19 MBS telehealth and phone items for preparing a Mental health Treatment Plan.  Check out our fact sheet  MBS COVID-19 Telehealth Services Mental Health.  

Do I need a new Provider Number if I am providing telehealth from home?

The Australian Department of Health advises that you should use the provider number for your primary location.

Are there any additional after-hours MBS items for COVID?

Yes. Changes to the items on 30 March mean that now GPs and Medical Practitioners can now use the temporary COVID-19 MBS telehealth and phone items for urgent care provided in unsociable after hours (11pm-7am).  Check out our fact sheet MBS COVID-19 Telehealth Services Quick Guide GPs  for more information.
 

Do I have to bulk bill the COVID-19 MBS items?

Yes, General Practitioners and Other Medical Practitioners must bulk bill the temporary COVID-19 items for Commonwealth concession card holders, children under 16 years old and patients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. A patient who is more vulnerable to COVID-19 is defined as a person who:
  • is required to self-isolate or self-quarantine in accordance with guidance issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee in relation to COVID-19; or
  • is at least 70 years old; or
  • if the person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent—is at least 50 years old; or
  • is pregnant; or
  • is the parent of a child aged under 12 months; or
  • is being treated for a chronic health condition; or
  • is immune compromised; or
  • meets the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection.
For all other patients, providers can apply their usual billing practices. Providers are expected to obtain informed financial consent from patients prior to providing the service; providing details regarding their fees, including any out-of-pocket costs.

For patients who are a Commonwealth concession card holder, are more vulnerable to COVID-19 or for children under 16 years old the bulk billing incentive has also been doubled.

From 20 April 2020, allied health practitioners and Specialists are no longer required to bulk bill the temporary COVID-19 MBS items.

Are there telehealth or phone items available for our practice nurse?

Yes. As of 20 April 2020, there are now items available for practice nurses. These items are equivalent to the existing face-to-face items (10987 and 10997).

Read more about these items in our Nursing and Allied Health Quick Guide.
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and recognises the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these
contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.