Patients who need a covid test but don’t have an established relationship with a GP can get remote referrals until the end of the year.
An exemption to the “established clinical relationship” criteria for MBS telehealth services has been extended until 31 December.
Since 20 July 2020 GPs have only been able to provide rebatable telehealth services for patients for whom they have provided a face-to-face service to the patient in the previous 12 months.
There are specific exemption categories to the rule including one for patients who do not meet the 12-month requirement, but who are experiencing acute respiratory services, are seeking a referral to a private pathologist for a covid PCR test, and who are eligible for antivirals on the PBS.
That exemption ran out on 31 March but has now been extended until the end of the year, the Department of Health and Aged Care announced today.
“This exemption will allow patients who meet these criteria to receive a telehealth or phone consultation for the purpose of seeking a request for an MBS PCR test,” the DoHsaid.
“Where a treating practitioner considers a test for covid to be necessary for the clinical management of their patient, it should be explicitly stated in the request, including where testing for covid is requested alongside testing for other respiratory pathogens (e.g. respiratory virus PCR including covid).”
A full list of requirements and exemptions is available at MBS Online.