TAC funding of telehealth services
In response to COVID-19 the TAC introduced temporary funding of telehealth services to ensure clients can still access the treatments and services they need related to their transport accident.
The TAC has extended the funding of temporary telehealth services until further notice, giving clients the ongoing convenience and flexibility of accessing health services from home.
Telehealth services enable providers to use video conferencing to deliver health services to a client and/or communicate health information about that client. Where TAC clients don’t have access to videoconferencing, telephone consultations may be used.
TAC telehealth rates allow you to be paid at your equivalent TAC face-to-face rate when telehealth services are delivered to TAC clients.
Guidelines for the delivery of telehealth can be found below.
TAC telehealth rates are now available for the following professions. Please click a link below to see the item codes and rates for each health profession:
- Case Management
- Exercise Physiologists
- General Practitioners
- Medical Specialists (including Psychiatrists)
- Nursing (Continence)
- Occupational Therapists
- Private Hospitals
- Prosthetists and Orthotists
- Social Workers
- Speech Pathologists
Telehealth is also available for the following under current TAC funding arrangements:
- Case management
- Outreach services
- Network pain management
There will be no changes to the current approval processes for TAC services.
The TAC expects its providers to use telehealth when it is clinically appropriate to do so and relates to a client’s transport accident injuries. Telehealth services must be provided in line with the Provider guidelines for delivery of telehealth services, the TAC Clinical Framework, providers’ peak body associations and Federal/State policy.
Provider guidelines for delivery of telehealth services
Telehealth is designed to replace a regular face-to-face consultation session, and providers should charge appropriately. Short telephone conversations with patients, or other communication outside of a consultation, do not constitute a chargeable service.
Providers should only use telehealth when it is clinically appropriate to do so and relates to a client’s transport accident injuries. Normal standards of practice apply to telehealth as they would in face to face consultations and providers are required to use the applicable telehealth item numbers when billing for services conducted via telehealth.
The telehealth services must:
- achieve optimal clinical, functional and vocational outcomes for TAC clients
- be provided in accordance with the Clinical Framework for the Delivery of Health Services
- adhere to ethical principles and codes of conduct
- adhere to relevant peak body telehealth guidelines
- comply with Federal and State policy
- be delivered to TAC clients in Australia (not overseas), even if the provider is delivering the service from Australia
- have competency in the clinical service being delivered and in the use of equipment required to provide telehealth services (the TAC will not pay for technology, phones, phone calls or internet services required by providers)
- ensure that they are up to date with training and development provided by their respective peak bodies
- ensure that the client has provided consent to participate in a telehealth service
- exercise extra care and precaution when discussing telehealth with vulnerable clients, particularly with regard to privacy and the benefits and limitations of telehealth with vulnerable clients
Factors to consider when assessing a TAC client for telehealth services include:
- the ability of the client to access and successfully use the technology (the TAC does not routinely pay for technology (e.g. phones, or devices), phone calls or internet services required by clients. The TAC will pay for equipment in line with our existing polices.
- the client’s location is a safe and effective environment
- providers have a plan in place to mitigate any potential risk to the client
- the platform being used provides adequate video quality for the service being provided
The TAC will evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of telehealth service provision and collect feedback from clients about the safety and quality of services they receive.
Platforms that can be utilised for the delivery of telehealth services include Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Coviu, Whatsapp or those recommended by providers’ peak bodies. Consultations by phone/audio platforms can be made if videoconferencing is not available.
Telehealth is not considered to be an email, SMS, app or video ONLY and these cannot be billed as a telehealth consultation. However, these items can be used in conjunction with the delivery of a consultation.
Most providers can use LanternPay to check a client’s eligibility for TAC services and get next business day payments. Go to lanternpay.com/providers to sign in or register, or visit tac.vic.gov.au/lanternpay for more information.
Providers can also submit invoices as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
For help on making videoconferencing more accessible for people with disability, access the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit website.