COVID-19 and New Telehealth Items
As part of the COVID-19 National Health Plan, the Government has introduced temporary bulk billed MBS telehealth services for primary care to allow doctors, nurses and mental health professionals to deliver services via telehealth, provided those services are bulk billed. This is a temporary six-month measure.
The new MBS items will allow people to access essential health services in their home while they undergo self isolation or quarantine, and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for vulnerable people in the community.
In terms of patients enrolled in the HCH Program, the following should apply:
- Telehealth consultations for acute conditions (e.g. respiratory illness) unrelated to the patient’s chronic disease or shared care plan should be bulk billed using the new telehealth MBS items.
- Telehealth consultations relating to a patient’s existing chronic disease or shared care plan should be covered by the HCH bundled payment and the new telehealth MBS items should not be used.
This is the same as the approach that is taken for face-to-face consultations with HCH patients.
Further information about the new MBS items for telehealth is available on the Department of Health's website.
Comprehensive information regarding the Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak can be accessed on the
Department of Health's website.
For consumer information, go to Health Care Homes for consumers
Health Care Homes enrolment is now closed
Patient enrolment for the Health Care Homes program closed on 30 June 2019. Over 10,000 patients in ten PHN regions across Australia were registered and continue to receive coordinated and innovative patient-centred care for their chronic and complex health conditions. The Health Care Homes program will run until 30 June 2021.
This extension will allow the general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services already participating in the program further time to implement new flexible models or care tailored to the needs of their patients. More information on the program extension is provided in the frequently asked questions section of the website.
Health Care Homes program extended
In December 2018 the Government announced the extension of the Health Care Homes program for an additional eighteen months to 30 June 2021. The period allowed for patient enrolment has also been extended to 30 June 2019, or until enrolment reaches the program’s new patient cap of 12,000.
About Health Care Homes
Health Care Homes are general practices or ACCHS that provide better coordinated and more flexible care for Australians with chronic and complex health conditions.
Chronic disease is on the rise in Australia. One in two Australians now have a chronic disease — such as diabetes, arthritis or heart and lung conditions — and one in four have at least two chronic health diseases1. Health Care Homes help people better manage their conditions by giving them coordinated, integrated care, that is tailored to their needs, and provided at their usual GP clinic or ACCHS.
Over 10,000 patients are now registered and benefiting from the Health Care Home model of care. Health Care Home care teams have worked together with their patients to develop and monitor a shared care plan. The shared care plan:
- includes comprehensive information about a patient’s care, medications and all the health professionals who care for them
- identifies local health care providers best able to meet each patient’s needs, and helps coordinate care with these providers
- include strategies to help each person manage their conditions and improve their quality of life.
The Health Care Homes Trial will run until 30 June 2021.
Guide to Health Care Homes
Health Care Homes have completed enrolling patients. The following links and resources can guide you.
- Your local PHN practice facilitator is your first point of call for any queries.
- Training for all Health Care Homes - this comprehensive online training course is available free for all participating practices. Contact your local PHN practice facilitators to begin the training as soon as possible.
- Detailed information on the program is available in the Health Care Home handbook under resources for practices and ACCHS.
- Call Precedence Healthcare for questions about the RST: 1300 236 638.
- Call the Department of Human Services for questions about HPOS: 1800 222 032.
- Call the Health Care Homes hotline (Department of Health): 1800 290 637 or email [email protected] with queries about Health Care Homes.
- Go to resources for practices and ACCHS for the handbook and other resources.
Building on the service we provide
Working as a team
Enrolling Health Care Home patients
For consumer information, go to the Health Care Homes for consumers' page.
1 AIHW data release on chronic disease (September 2016). 23 per cent of Australians have two or more of the eight selected chronic diseases in 2014-2015.