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  1. 1

    Margelis George

    The changes to the telehealth rebates as part of teh MYEFO have the potential to kill telehealth in Australia. The uncertainty produced by 3 changes to the reimbursement for telehealth consultations in less than 18 months means clinicians will just not get involved. They have better things to do than constantly adapt their practice to fluctuating reimbursement models and new levels of administrative stress.
    I have posted more details on my blog:

    Dr George Margelis

  2. 2

    Margelis George

    Interesting how some of the short sighted saving in healthcare spending in the mini budget seem at odds with their other initiatives. The cuts in telehealth are particularly bizarre, after making it an election issue in 2010 we have seen the rapid dissolution of promise since its introduction in July 2011. Within a year new limitations were introduced, and six months after that even greater restrictions placed on it to the stage that it has become a mere shadow of the original promise. The new budget envisages a saving of $134 million by limiting access to telehealth consultations for the bulk of the Australian population. I assume this means that those same people will just not access specialist services as that is the only way that sort of saving can be delivered. Of course when they end up in the emergency department due to the poor management of their underlying health issues, that is state government money that is being spent, so it won’t appear in the current budget.
    Even more bizarre is the fact that the same government is investing some $40 billion to deliver the required infrastructure for a national telehealth service through the NBN. It has been argued by them that telehealth is one of the primary business cases for the NBN, and yet at the same time they have decided to effectively make telehealth unavailable to the bulk of the population.
    In my blog I have argued that as a result of this action telehealth in Australia is dead. That may seem to be over the top, but the repeated downgrading of the service promised at the 2010 election,and the uncertainty that causes in the industry has led to that.
    If we really believe that we need to use technology to drive fundamental reform of our healthcare system then we need the government to have the political courage to stay the course and deliver on its promise.

    Dr George Margelis


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