A NEW MyMedicare program opened to patient registration on 1 October and invites patients to formalise their relationship with their general practitioner (GP).
MyMedicare, a free, voluntary patient registration scheme, promises to bring about a more personalised Medicare, with patients to access more tailored quality care from their regular general practice clinic and primary care team.
Since 1 October, all patients with a Medicare card or Veteran Card are able to register with their participating general practice to get better continuity of care and access to longer telehealth consultations.
At the moment, telehealth is restricted to patients who have seen their GP face-to-face at least twice in a 24-month period.
Patients who register with MyMedicare can select their preferred clinic and GP (if the clinic is also a participant) and, from next month, become eligible for rebates for telehealth appointments longer than 20 minutes.
Until now, these types of services have generally been restricted to acute scenarios, like mental health treatment or COVID-19 antiviral medicines.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said the benefits of this system-wide reform will grow over time as more patients and providers join.
“MyMedicare is open to everyone and entirely voluntary,” he said.
“MyMedicare is the foundation to deliver more tailored care to patients through a range of funding packages to better serve the needs of patients that fall through the cracks of the current system.
“Patients registered for MyMedicare will gain a stronger relationship with their healthcare teams and more consistent care, including longer telehealth consultations.
“This important reform will also secure the sustainability and efficiency of general practice for the future.”
From next year, general practices will also begin to access funding packages to help in tailoring their care to patients from priority groups who register with them through MyMedicare, like frequent hospital users and aged care residents.
Provider registration through Services Australia became available on 1 July 2024 and is open to accredited general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, Aboriginal Medical Services and mobile and outreach practices.
Around 2,600 practices have registered with MyMedicare, accounting for nearly 40% of the 6,500 practices around Australia, with hundreds more joining every week.
GPs will soon be incentivised by the government to bulk bill children under 16, pensioners, and concession card holders for long telehealth consultations.
MyMedicare comes after a recommendation by the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce to introduce a system of voluntary patient registration to support continuity of care and better health outcomes.
Interested patients can sign up via their Medicare online accounts, the Medicare app, or in person at their preferred clinics. Further benefits are set to come into effect over a three-year rollout of the scheme.
More information is available at the MyMedicare website.
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