Welcome to this new world of telehealth! We are all in this together, but the funny thing is that telehealth has actually been used by physios, osteos and chiros for years, especially in remote locations. While we know the benefits of manual therapy and contact with in-person treatment, telehealth appointments have been shown in many studies to be just as effective as in-person treatment in achieving positive outcomes! So rest assured that your telehealth appointment will be safe, effective and delivered by a professional, experienced practitioner.
But of course, there are a lot of questions about telehealth, what it is and how it all works, including payments. So we’ve compiled a list of FAQs for you:
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is a virtual appointment. It’s just like your normal physio/chiro/osteo appointment, but done online using video calling software, like Skype, Covui or Zoom. You can see your practitioner and they’ll be able to see you. You can chat to each other as normal, via your computer, tablet or phone. Telehealth also covers phone-only consultations, although most clinics will offer video consultations over phone consults.
How does it work?
Clinics will use different software for telehealth appointments, but the majority will simply email you a link before your appointment time. Click on the link and the software will open. We recommend that you test the link beforehand, just in case you need to download an app or check your computer sound. Helpful hints:
- Try and be somewhere with little background noise, or plug in headphones to help eliminate the background noise. But don’t worry if you have kids around and this is impossible – we get it!
- Make sure your room is well lit, and preferably have the light in front of you (this is so we can see you, rather than just your silhouette).
- Try to have two metres of space behind you. This is so you can perform any movements your practitioner may ask of you and so they can see your whole body in the screen.
- If you’re doing classes, have a towel and water bottle nearby.
What are the appointment costs?
The costs will differ clinic to clinic, so check with your clinic for their appointment costs. Read below for more information on Medicare and private health insurance.
Can I claim Medicare and be bulk-billed?
If you have a Chronic Disease Management (CDM) plan (formerly EPC) or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) patient, you can continue to claim appointment costs through medicare, with no out-of-pocket expenses. They are bulk-billed and you will NOT have any gap payments for telehealth appointments. If you don’t have a CDM, but need one, book in for an appointment with your GP. This can also be a telehealth appointment, and the referral does not have to state ‘telehealth appointment’ – it is simply understood that appointments can be bulk-billed for either in-person or telehealth treatments.
Does my private health insurance cover it?
Every private health insurer is different, however many are now covering telehealth appointments. It’s best to contact your private health provider to check if you’re covered.
We hope these FAQs about telehealth have been helpful. If there’s anything you think we’re missing, just let us know!