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Medicare coverage boost for telehealth

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has agreed to expand access to Medicare-funded telehealth, including for mental health, after practitioners complained that restrictions were putting them and their patients at risk.

Mr Hunt said the government was working on a plan to enable all patients to be able to access Medicare-funded online or telephone consultations “for all patients, with or without COVID-19, to see any general practitioner, medical specialist, mental health or allied health professional during the COVID-19 health emergency.”

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has agreed to expand access to Medicare-funded telehealth.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has agreed to expand access to Medicare-funded telehealth.Credit:AAP

It comes after GPs complained of being inundated with “anxious” calls from patients with cold and flu symptoms who could not access tests, seeking medical advice over the phone – but unable to access Medicare rebates for phone consultations without a diagnosis.

Currently, only patients who are required to self-isolate due to travel or exposure to a confirmed case, or patients considered vulnerable – including those who have COVID-19 – are able to access the Medicare rebates for telehealth.

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