COVID-19 high risk group temporary exemption from established relationship requirement

This page provides information on temporary changes to the established relationship requirement for MBS telehealth services with GPs and OMPs to provide an exemption for patients eligible for treatment with COVID-19 antiviral therapy to enable access to a request for a PCR test

Page last updated: 03 April 2023

From 24 December 2022 until 31 December 2023, a new temporary exemption from the established clinical relationship requirement (which is defined as at least one face-to-face consultation with the General Practitioner (GP), or another practitioner at the same practice within the 12-months preceding the telehealth service) for GP and Other Medical Practitioners (OMP) telehealth consultations will commence. Under these new arrangements, any GP or OMP can provide a telehealth consultation to patients who:

    do not meet the established clinical relationship requirement;

    are eligible for Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) criteria for antiviral therapy;

    and who are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms;

    and are seeking a request to a private pathologist for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing in relation to COVID-19.

This exemption will allow patients who meet the criteria above to receive a telehealth or phone consultation for the purpose of seeking a request for a Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) PCR test. Where a treating practitioner considers a test for COVID-19 to be necessary for the clinical management of their patient, it should be explicitly stated in the request, including where testing for COVID-19 is requested alongside testing for other respiratory pathogens (e.g "Respiratory virus PCR including COVID-19").

This will apply to services referenced within the GPs and OMPs factsheet on the MBS Telehealth Services from 1 July 2022 page.

Further information is available in the following factsheet:

PDF Version Factsheet for high risk group exemption (PDF 159 KB)
WORD Version Factsheet for high risk group exemption (Word 119 KB)

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