TELEHEALTH ENSURES BETTER ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
Announcement posted by Family Planning NSW 13 Jul 2021
People needing reproductive and sexual health services or pregnancy counselling can access a range of treatment options through telehealth with Medicare rebates re-instated for Family Planning NSW patients in the June 2021 Budget.
The re-instatement of the telehealth Medicare rebate for people seeking things like contraception, STI advice and pregnancy services means patients attending specialised services like Family Planning NSW do not need to have seen a particular doctor within the past 12 months to qualify for Medicare funded telehealth.
Family Planning NSW CEO Adjunct Professor Ann Brassil said telehealth was a vital component of the organisation’s health offerings during the 2020 lockdown and until eligibility was restricted in July 2020.
The June 2021 reinstatement of the service for specialised reproductive and sexual health care will support access to essential care across the state and particularly for 5 million Sydneysiders now in their third week of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
“This is a great time to remind everyone telehealth is available through Family Planning NSW. At all stages of the pandemic our clinics have remained open to offer essential healthcare to patients, but we recognise many patients may prefer to use telehealth,” A/Prof Brassil said.
“There is an enormous focus on reducing movement in areas around Sydney, and in particular Fairfield, where one of our clinics is located. Family Planning NSW has a range of COVID-safe processes in place and people should feel comfortable to attend.
“However, for anyone who needs to isolate, or feels uncomfortable attending a clinic, telehealth is a fantastic way to ensure you get connected with the care you need when you need it.
“We’ve also enhanced our 2020 telehealth offering, and patients seeking care through telehealth can now choose between telephone and video conferencing.”
The telehealth Medicare rebates are valid for care from now until December 2021 and patients can book an appointment by phoning their local clinic.
A/Prof Brassil said she hoped there would be a continuation of the rebate after December as telehealth was a proven way to improve patient access to healthcare in general and COVID-19 would continue to impact people for some time.