Title GPs need more support to manage long COVID Media name/outlet Medical Republic Country/Territory Australia Date 20/02/23 Description GPs treating people with long covid need help, including earlier access to chronic disease item numbers and a tripling of the bulk-billing incentive.
n its last scheduled public hearing today, the House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport’s inquiry into long covid and repeated covid infections heard from Professor Mark Morgan, chair of the RACGP’s Expert Committee for Quality Care, and co-chair of the National Clinical Evidence Taskforce primary and chronic care panel.
“Long covid requires care coordination, it requires time with the patient, it requires time to understand the local resources, and it requires time for follow-up,” Professor Morgan said.
“Current rebates are not adequate, additional resources are needed, and five allied health appointments per year is clearly insufficient.”
Professor Morgan told the committee that in the short term the ability to use chronic disease MBS item numbers earlier in the case of patients suspected of having long covid would “make sense”. Currently, those item numbers (721, 723, 729, 731 and 732) can only be used “for a patient who suffers from at least one medical condition that has been present (or is likely to be present) for at least six months or is terminal”.
“Adjusting item numbers to allow asynchronous meetings would allow case coordination and remove some barriers to accessing multidisciplinary care,” said Professor Morgan.
In the medium term he said a rethink of the way the MBS supports chronic diseases was needed.
“[At the moment] the system is designed for episodic care, with time-based funding that drives doctors towards shorter consultations,” he told the committee.
Over the long term, Professor Morgan said a “tripling” of the bulk-billing incentive was needed: “That will encourage practitioners to provide services to vulnerable people without charging a gap.”
Producer/Author Cate Swannell URL https://www.medicalrepublic.com.au/gps-need-more-support-to-manage-long-covid/86188 Persons Mark Morgan