Australian Government to extend telehealth funding until at least the end of the year
During the coronavirus pandemic, eligible Australians have been accessing Medicare-subsidised telehealth services. However, this arrangement is due to end on June 30. But it now looks like there will be an extension until at least the end of the year.
Australian Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has said the government will extend Medicare-subsidised telehealth services until the end of the year, while the government works with peak bodies to design a post-pandemic telehealth system going forward
“Over the last 12 months, telehealth services have been life-changing for many in need of support,” Mr Hunt said.
“The extension will ensure that Australians can continue to see their GP, renew scripts and seek mental health support from the safety of their own home. This allows vulnerable Australians to feel protected and supported during these unprecedented times.”
The Australian Government rapidly rolled out telehealth subsidies back in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic became apparent to enable citizens to continue to access GP, mental health and allied health services even during lockdowns.
Over the course of the year to the end of March, more than 54 million Medicare-subsidised telehealth services were delivered to 13.5 million patients.
The cost of the six-month extension will be detailed in the Australian federal budget on May 11, 2021.
*Image: Sydney Opera House, courtesy of Patty Jansen from Pixabay