COVID-19 Private Practice Support & Resources

Below is The Practice Lab’s collection of support and resources for private practice owners to manage through the coronavirus pandemic. Check regularly for updates and contact us to suggest edits and additions. (All links open in a new tab.)
covid19 temporary telehealth bulk billed items
telehealth client consent form template private practice
private practice covid19 critical response plan
telehealth options mbs online
Telehealth online consultations for health and wellbeing business
Managing copayment reversal psychology
private practice surviving whole community bulk billing psychologist
managing your private practice coronavirus pandemic

General Resources & Resources for Clients

Department of Health COVID-19 Health Alert
Department of Health COVID-19 Current Case Numbers
Head to Health COVID-19 Mental Health Support
healthdirect covid19 symptom checker
WHO COVID-19 Pandemic Updates
WHO COVID19 Situation Dashboard

Timeline of Updates & Resources

It was announced on Saturday 18 April 2020 by the AAPi (Australian Association of Psychologists inc.) that as of Monday 20 April, allied health professionals including psychologists, specialist and consultant physicians, nurse practitioners and midwives will no longer be required to bulk bill in order to access the MBS COVID-19 telehealth items.

This webinar, hosted by Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd AM, was specifically for Primary Care and Allied Health practitioners from the Department of Health.

Changes to Bulk Billing requirements for COVID-19 Medicare Telehealth
The following has just been released. This is effective as of today, Monday April 6.

Bulk billing for whole of population COVID Telehealth items has been replaced with mandatory bulk bulling for the following:

  • a person who is a concessional beneficiary
  • a person who is under the age of 16
  • a person who is ‘more vulnerable’ to COVID-19 virus

A patient more vulnerable to COVID-19 virus means a person who:

  • (a) 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
  • (b) is at least 70 years old; or
  • (c) if the person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent—is at least 50 years old; or
  • (d) is pregnant; or
  • (e) is the parent of a child aged under 12 months; or
  • (f) is being treated for a chronic health condition; or
  • (g) is immune compromised; or
  • (h) meets the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection.

Clients that do not meet this criteria, as of Monday April 6, you have the choice to bulk bill or charge a gap fee. Clients under 16, concessional or ‘vulnerable’ to COVID-19 must be bulk billed if using the COVID-19 Medicare telehealth item numbers.

The services will be available from now until 30 September 2020. The continuing availability of these items will be reviewed prior to 30 September 2020.

“We are proud to announce that HealthEngine has now created Australia’s First End-to-End Telehealth Ecosystem Incorporating a Multi-Specialty Provider Directory, Secure Video Platform and Partner Integrations to Remotely Connect More Practices & Patients. …

We have also launched the ability to be found as a telehealth-enabled practice in Australia’s largest healthcare directory. Free to be listed and we are applying COVID concessions for customers recognising many are in financial distress.” – Dr Marcus Tan on LinkedIn

coreplus, a practice management software, has released its new built-in telehealth feature. This integrated telehealth feature allows you to conduct your sessions via video without leaving the coreplus platform.

“The Morrison Government will provide a historic wage subsidy to around 6 million workers who will receive a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer, before tax.

The $130 billion JobKeeper payment will help keep Australians in jobs as tackle the significant economic impact from the coronavirus.

The payment will be open to eligible businesses that receive a significant financial hit caused by the coronavirus.” – Media release by the prime minister

 

Eligible Employers

Employers (including non-for-profits) will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
  • their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Factsheet: Supporting businesses to retain jobs

 

Employer Obligations

To receive the JobKeeper Payment, employers must:

  • Register an intention to apply on the ATO website and assess that they have or will experience the required turnover decline.
  • Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees. This includes information on the number of eligible employees engaged as at 1 March 2020 and those currently employed by the business (including those stood down or rehired). For most businesses, the ATO will use Single Touch Payroll data to pre-populate the employee details for the business.
  • Ensure that each eligible employee receives at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax).
    • For employees that were already receiving this amount from the employer they will continue to receive their regular income according to their prevailing workplace arrangements.
    • For employees that have been receiving less than this amount, the employer will need to top up the payment to the employee
      up to $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
    • And for those employees earning more than this amount, the
      employer is able to provide them with a top-up.
  • Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment.
  • Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible employees employed by the business.

Factsheet: JobKeeper Payment — Information for Employers

COVID-19: Whole of population telehealth for patients, general practice, primary care and other medical services

“To provide continued access to essential primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government is expanding Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians and providing extra incentives to general practitioners and other health practitioners.”

“Services will include GP services and some consultation services provided by other medical specialists, nurse practitioners, mental health treatment, chronic disease management, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessments, services to people with eating disorders, pregnancy support counselling, services to patients in aged care facilities, children with autism, and after-hours consultations.”

  • GPs bulk billing incentive doubled for both face-to-face and telehealth services.
  • Further announcements will be made during the week that will allow GPs and other providers to apply their usual billing practices to telehealth consultations, while concessional and vulnerable patients will continue to receive services at no cost.

Commencement: 8AM Monday 30 March

Until: 30 September 2020

Power Diary, a practice management software, has released its new built-in telehealth feature. This integrated telehealth feature allows you to conduct your sessions via video without leaving the Power Diary platform.

HealthEngine, a marketplace for healthcare services, has released its new telehealth feature.

Cliniko, a practice management software, has released its new built-in telehealth feature. This integrated telehealth feature allows you to conduct your sessions via video without leaving the Cliniko platform.

“Due to recent restrictions in travel and personal interaction associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic and to support expanded capabilities for all service providers in their delivery of tele-health services, … qualified professionals are hereby granted a limited and revocable permission to utilize appropriate non-public facing teleconferencing software and tools to assist in the remote administration of Pearson assessment content, consistent with this letter.”