Telehealth to stay

Heart Foundation

More than four million Australians living with heart, stroke and blood vessel disease will have permanent access to Medicare-subsidised telehealth services from 1 January 2022.

The Heart Foundation has welcomed the decision made today by the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt MP, to make telehealth permanently available through Medicare.

Heart Foundation Chief Medical Adviser and interim Group CEO, Professor Garry Jennings, said telehealth offers vital support for millions of Australians living with heart, stroke and blood vessel disease, as well as those recovering from heart events.

“More than four million Australians live with heart, stroke or blood vessel disease and hundreds of thousands of people experience heart attacks, strokes or heart surgery every year,” Professor Jennings said.

“Appropriate access to healthcare is the lifeline that gives these people the best chance to recover, stay well and stay out of hospital. For many Australians, that access is dependent on telehealth.”

Telehealth consultations allow people to speak with their GPs or their cardiologists quickly and safely via phone or video conference, about concerns relating directly to their heart health, and about other health or chronic disease concerns.

“Making telehealth a permanent part of Medicare will make healthcare more available for millions of Australians who cannot always access face-to-face care,” Professor Jennings said.

“This is critical to prevent a backlog of undiagnosed conditions or relapses in chronic diseases which may end in hospitalisations or death.

“It also supports health professionals by reducing pressure on face-to-face services while still allowing them to treat patients, including those with chronic disease who rely on continuity of care.”

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