Pandemic health care extended

Pandemic health care extended

The Australian community, including veterans and their families will benefit from a $4.26 billion continuation of pandemic primary health care support under expanded initiatives in the 2020 Budget. 

21 October 2020

The Australian community, including veterans and their families will benefit from a $4.26 billion continuation of pandemic primary health care support from their general practice, pathology services, pharmacy medicines and expert Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) recommendations under expanded initiatives in the 2020 Budget. 

To build the capacity of the primary health care sector in response to the Coronavirus pandemic to meet increased demand and infection control and prevention, delivery of telehealth services were fast-tracked across the country. Video and phone consultations have been extended for a further six months until 31 March 2021for GP, nursing, midwifery, allied health and mental health services and for essential specialist services, such as consultant physician, psychiatric, geriatrician, and neurosurgery services. 

Additionally, the Government is developing options for the permanent adoption of telehealth beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, with $18.6 million in funding for provision of system changes to support future reform.

COVID-19 testing continues

Maintaining the network of 150 GP-led respiratory clinics across the country conserves the capacity of public hospitals and general practice, enabling early identification of cases. Pathology testing remains an important part of the Government’s strategy to contain the spread of COVID-19, which includes extending support for testing for a further six months until 31 March 2021.

This continued support will ensure all Australians have access to bulk-billed COVID-19 tests under Medicare, particularly essential workers in the aged care sector and interstate freight industry. Dedicated residential aged care testing will be maintained through ‘in-reach’ COVID-19 pathology collection. 

Greater access to medicines for all

The Australian Government has continued its commitment to make medicines accessible to Australians through a $10.2 billion investment.

As part of this commitment, $375 million was invested to continue listing all medicines recommended by the medical experts on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. These include lifesaving medicines to treat leukaemia, melanoma and Parkinson’s disease.

DVA clients will benefit from these added and amended listings through the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This will see DVA clients have access to an increased a range of essential medication.

The veteran community will also continue to benefit from changes to the MBS which is reviewed by clinical experts in the MBS Review Taskforce on a continuous basis. This ensures funding of high value, flexible and modern care and representation of best value for money to improve health outcomes for all patients. Changes to MBS items for cardiac services and orthopaedic surgery will be reflected in DVA’s health funding arrangement from 1 July 2021, including other minor corrections to items in a range of specialities. 

To learn more about these measures visit the Department of Health Budget 2020-21 webpage.
 

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