Primary Care and Allied Health COVID-19 Response Webinar 9 April 2020
Professor Michael Kidd AM, Principal Medical Advisor and Deputy Medical Officer from the Department of Health has forwarded an invitation to a webinar: COVID-19 Response Update series for Primary Care and Allied Health professionals Thursday 9 April from 2.30-3.10pm(Canberra time). 
He will be joined by fellow Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth and Deputy Secretary Penny Shakespeare. Together they will provide an update specific to Primary Care and Allied Health professionals on telehealth initiatives as part of the national response to COVID-19. 

Before the session, please try and find the time to read the latest information on Bulk Billing and the links to the MBS Telehealth fact sheets (see useful links section below), including the Frequently Asked Questions specific to Allied Health - including which practitioners are currently covered by the expanded telehealth items. The Government is continuing to review the telehealth items for specialists and more items may be added in the coming weeks. 

Update on Bulk Billing
From 6 April 2020, it is a legislative requirement that the new telehealth services must be bulk billed for Commonwealth concession card holders, children under 16 years old and patients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 - that is people who are:

  • Aged at least 70 years old; or
  • Indigenous and aged at least 50 years old; or
  • Pregnant; or
  • A parent of a child under 12 months; or
  • Immune compromised; or
  • Have a chronic medical condition that results in increased risk from coronavirus infection.

Health providers may apply their usual billing practices to the telehealth items for patients who do not fit the above criteria. We do encourage you to continue to show discretion to patients who are financially impacted during this challenging time, as we know you will. 

Decision tree for considering General Surgery
Further to the COVID-19 Guidelines for General Surgery published last week, the General Surgery Association (GSA) has published a Decision Tree for Considering General Surgery during COVID-19, which has been developed by members of GSA.

Other GSA specific COVID-19 resources can be accessed via the GSA website.

PPE update to anaesthetists with Dr Nick Coatsworth 

Dr Nick Coatsworth, the Australian Deputy Chief Medical Officer, provided an update on PPE to the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) and the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). Listen to the webinar.

We will be setting up a webinar with Nick Chatsworth, the Australian Deputy Chief Medical Officer, after Easter. We will give you a few days’ notice of the meeting.

Free online mindfulness sessions – every Saturday until further notice
Tony Dunin, an orthopaedic surgeon and mindfulness teacher and Linda Kader, a psychiatrist, have teamed up to offer a series of free online sessions for doctors in all areas of medicine in Australia as a support in this very challenging and stressful time of the COVID-19 crisis.
The sessions will be available every Saturday 9.30am – 10.30am until further notice. Access registration details (PDF 128.78KB).
We would like to thank all staff, Fellows, Trainees and International Medical Graduates for their understanding and support. Please keep vigilant and safe over this unusual Easter break and let’s hope that our communities continue with the protective behaviours that are so necessary during this time.

Useful links