Title Covid disruptions may cause hundreds of heart deaths Degree of recognition National Media name/outlet Medical Republic Media type Web Country/Territory Australia Date 30/09/21 Description Hundreds of Australians may die of preventable heart-related deaths in the coming years, in the wake of covid disruptions...
Professor of General Practice Mark Morgan, who chairs the RACGP Expert Committee for Quality Care, said the Heart Foundation’s message was very important, but that relying on the use of MBS items 699 and 117 wouldn’t pick up all heart disease monitoring by GPs.
“Many GPS, if they do a comprehensive preventative medical consult, will simply charge a 36, a long-consult item number, if it’s more than 20 minutes long. They won’t necessarily bill the heart-check-specific item number because they’ve covered a number of aspects of a person’s life and risks simultaneously.”
But he said there has been “a big drop-off” in routine preventative checks. “I’m sure that there is a price being paid for taking our eye away from long-term prevention, in the face of the pandemic, lockdowns and reduced visits to GPs.”
However, he was optimistic that the medical fraternity could turn things around.
“As we get used to living with and around covid and a vaccinated population, we really need to pick up again on prevention,” Professor Morgan said.
Technology can help by using data already routinely collected to identify who’s at risk and prompt GPs to invite them in, or address it at the next booked appointment, suggested Professor Morgan, who is involved in the design of one such system.
Relying on existing calculators alone allowed some patients to fall through the cracks, he cautioned.
“There are groups of people – for example, chronic kidney disease – that put you in an automatic high risk, and then there are fudge factors that should be applied, like having serious mental illness, for example.”
“Calculators that might come out next year are likely to include additional factors that will be part of the algorithm for calculating some of these risks.”
Producer/Author Mariella Attard Persons Mark Morgan