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Medicare telehealth items

The federal government has announced the introduction of a new Medicare rebate for online videoconferencing consultations with Accredited Mental Health Social Workers. The initiative is the first to be rolled out following the announcement of the Regional Australia Ministerial Taskforce, chaired by the Prime Minister. The AASW has received confirmation from the Office of the Health Minister that social workers who are currently covered under the FPS (focussed psychology strategies) items are also covered under the new arrangements.

What you need to know about Medicare telehealth items

  • From November 1, people in rural and regional Australia will be able to claim a Medicare rebate for online videoconferencing consultations with psychologists, AMHSWers and other health professionals.
  • Up to seven of the ten sessions currently available under Medicare rebatable mental health plans will be available via telehealth. (We are currently working with government and advocating towards a greater expansion of the scheme to improve access for individuals for whom face-to-face consultations may prove difficult.)
  • The Medicare rebatable psychological services via telehealth will be available for patients living in Modified Monash Model regions four to seven, which cover smaller country towns and remote and very remote locations.
  • This will ensure that the services go to areas with the biggest access challenges, not to larger regional centres that are more likely to have mental health professionals.
  • This initiative is part of this year’s Federal Budget will cost $9 million over four years from 2017–18 to 2020–21.

New MBS Numbers

80151 - 20-50 minutes

80161 - 50+ minutes

80171 - 60 minutes (6-10 people)

Please also read the associated notes at the bottom of each page for more information.

More information

We will continue to update information on this page as it becomes available.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers