The Department of Health and Aged Care has extended the COVID-19 high risk group temporary exemption from the telehealth established relationship requirement to 31 December 2023.
This exemption was introduced on 24 December 2022 and was due to expire on 31 March 2023. The exemption means any GP or OMP can provide a telehealth consultation to patients who:
- do not meet the established clinical relationship requirement; and
- are eligible for Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) criteria for antiviral therapy; and
- who are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms; and
- are seeking a request to a private pathologist for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing in relation to COVID-19.
This exemption will allow patients who meet the criteria above to continue to receive a telehealth or phone consultation for the purpose of seeking a request for a Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) PCR test. Where a treating practitioner considers a test for COVID-19 to be necessary for the clinical management of their patient, it should be explicitly stated in the request, including where testing for COVID-19 is requested alongside testing for other respiratory pathogens (for example, "Respiratory virus PCR including COVID-19").
Further information is available in the following factsheet: