Capital Health Network

Capital Health Network

COVID-19 Resources and information

Date: May 21, 2020

Capital Health Network (CHN) is supporting primary health care professionals and our key stakeholders in the ACT in response to COVID-19.

Staff in general practice and allied health are facing increasing challenging circumstances during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Working on the frontline is rewarding but can sometimes be overwhelming. It’s OK to talk about how you feel.

AccessEAP has launched a dedicated counselling hotline for everyone working in healthcare, including key staff such as Medical Receptionists. To support you, CHN is offering you 3 free and confidential counselling sessions with Access EAP’s most senior clinicals and psychologists who have expertise in working in the healthcare sector. Just call the Healthcare Hotline on 1800 571 199 to book a same-day counselling appointment via telephone or video. Please ask them to charge it to “CHN Medical Practice”.

To help us plan our distribution of masks issued by the Australian Government from the National Medical Stockpile (NMS), we ask that general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and community pharmacy complete this online PPE Request Form so that we can determine the requirements for your service. CHN is distributing PPE in line with guidance from the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Our General Practice Improvement Team will deliver PPE to your practice using contactless delivery. You will receive a phone call from a team member advising you they are outside your practice with your supplies. You will need to send a staff member to collect them.

More information can be found by clicking here.

ANU MakerSpace is coordinating the production of thousands of free face shields and masks to help ensure health workers have adequate supplied of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Face Shields

The shields are nominally disposable (potentially re-useable 2-3 times with an alcohol wipe-over). They are based on the University of Wisconsin design tweaked with feedback from Canberra Health Services and using locally available materials (PVC film, urethane brow foam, elastic). The shields are packaged individually in self-seal bags and boxed in cartons of 40 shields. We are producing up to 17,000 shields for donation to health services in need.

Face Masks

The masks are again nominally disposable, although these are designed to be autoclavable. They are based on the University of Florida College of Medicine prototype #2 design, with three layers of Halyard H200 sterilisation wrap as the main body material and polyester ties/thread, with a roundish shape and darts to snug the mask under the chin. These are intended for splash protection in occupational settings only – they are not listed on the ARTG and in use would be similar to a utility mask. We are producing up to 2,000 masks for donation in health services in need, particularly for use where regular supplies are not available.

The face shields have been examined and accepted by Canberra Health Services (CHS) and are being supplied to both CHS and NSW Health. Pick-up of face shields and masks (including courier pick-up) is available from the ANU campus in Acton for face shields (immediately) and masks (from 11 May). Please place your order through the online form. Please email makerspace@anu.edu.au if you have difficulties with the form.

Free Infection Control Training is being offered online to health care workers by Aspen Medical in a 30 minute online training module.

a) General practice

Telehealth (video-conference and phone consultation) items are now available to all Australians. There is strict criteria for compulsory bulk billing of vulnerable people by GPs. The 20 April 2020 MBS XML file is available to download with changes explained here and the full item list here. Ensure you understand the legislation and series amendments prior to commencement of billing.

Telehealth resources:

  • RACGP Telehealth information 
  • ACCRM How to do a high quality remote consultation
  • Train IT Medical Free Resources
  • MBS Online contains immense resources such as COVID-19 Temporary MBS Telehealth Services. Please actively follow MBS Online and/or subscribe to Medicare updates to ensure you receive accurate information as it is released. Please pay very close attention to the bulk billing requirements, which are mandatory.
  • Patient consent to bulk-bill Telehealth items can be obtained verbally. Please create an autofill for use by all Doctors and Nurses to give the required informed financial consent. It must include the item number, how much it is worth, a statement that Doctor will accept that fee as payment, and a question asking if the patient agrees. The Doctor must read it out loud to the patient at the end of the consultation and notate the patient's verbal agreement. See the Provider Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet.
  • Specialist Medical Practitioners may undertake private telehealth due to amended legislation. Changes have occurred as at 20 April 2020, removing the requirement for specialists and consultant physicians, nurse practitioners, midwifes and allied health professionals to bulk-bill certain telehealth or phone health consultations.
  • Telehealth updates for prescribers in the ACT.

b) Allied health

  • The Cunningham Centre in partnership with the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland has developed a range of education resources that support the delivery of allied health services via telehealth. These online education resources focus on the service redesign requirements to implement telehealth services, including topics such as planning and managing the service change, stakeholder engagement, governance, safety and evaluation. These topics are relevant to all professions implementing telehealth services. The resources contain a range of clinical applications highlighting specific services that are delivered via telehealth.

c) Resources 

  1. Telehealth resources for healthcare professionals
    • Capital Health Network has received approval from the Department of Health to facilitate delivery of telehealth video consultation services to general practice and other eligible health care providers within the ACT.
    • Provision of telehealth services, where appropriate and clinically safe, allows ACT healthcare providers to offer patients an alternative to face-to-face consultations whilst self-isolation, quarantine and other government social distancing measures are in place. Telehealth consultations help to limit the exposure of patients and vulnerable providers to COVID-19 and reduce the risk of transmission within the community.
    • The telehealth service is being facilitated through the Healthdirect Video Call platform which Capital Health Network is pleased to offer free to practices in the ACT until June 2021.
    • If you would like Capital Health Network to help your practice get set up with this telehealth solution, please email your query to digitalhealth@chnact.org.au.
  2. ii) RACGP resources
    • The RACGP has published a number of resources to support general practice to implement telehealth.
  3. iii) Telehealth Hub – Digital Health CRC
    • The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre recently launched their Telehealth Hubwhich collates and indexed a wide range of resources that have been shared and recommended by members of the Australian health community, supporting health professionals and consumers to use telehealth effectively.
    • Numerous government agencies, professional bodies, organisations and individuals have contributed to resources available on the Hub.
    • Resources include recommendations for service providers setting up telehealth and the legal (privacy), ethical and clinical governance issues.

The ACT & SNSW HealthPathways team is continuing to work on relevant COVID-19 pathways for both ACT and SNSW. There are currently nine COVID-19 related pathways live on the ACT & SNSW HealthPathways site. Username: together, Password: forhealth.

These pages were developed in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and the wider HealthPathways community and will be continuously updated as information changes. The COVID-19 Impact on Clinical Care page is currently under development. Please notify the ACT & SNSW team with any feedback regarding these pages via the send feedback button on the ACT & SNSW HealthPathways site.

Click here for an information sheet including:

  • who can be tested for COVID-19?
  • how can I arrange testing for COVID-19?
  • GP Respiratory Clinics (by appointment)
  • ACT Respiratory Assessment Clinics.

  • Medico-Legal Aspects of COVID-19 - Each Medical Indemnity policy is different; please be aware of information provided by your insurer (plus scroll further on each page for Telehealth, Workforce, and Practice Management topics):
  • Immunisation Support - Visit for essential information and guidelines:
  • Accreditation - The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has announced changes to General Practice Accreditation in response to extraordinary circumstances arising from COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Practice Incentive Program Quality Improvement (PIPQI) - General Practices that open for face-to-face services for a minimum of four hours a day (or for part-time practices for an average of 50% of their normal practice opening hours) will have their next two PIPQI payments doubled. These payments will be made on 1 May and 1 August 2020.
  • Australian Defence Force (ADF) member attendance – Active serving members may be referred by the ADF 1800IMSICK phone triage service to attend a GP. The members will present with a Defence Approval Number (DAN).  To bill, send an invoice that includes the member’s full name (include rank), date of birth, address, DAN number and PMKeys number (seven digit number starting with 8, may also be written as EPID number on a referral) to BUPA Customer Service Office via fax: 03 9937 3010 or email: adfhscproviders@bupa.com.au
  • See the TELEHEALTH section for resources on Telehealth
  • EPrescribing – Scripts no longer have to be posted within 15 days to a pharmacy, but instead may be kept at the practice for two years - see Federal legislation, with supporting fact sheets for prescribers and pharmacists. Please note that electronic and digital image prescriptions are enabled in the ACT for all medicines. See supporting ACT fact sheet and FAQs. Detailed information is available on the health professionals ‘Medicines Matters’ page of the ACT COVID-19 website https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/. For those accessing this website from other states, please ensure you check your state legislation
  • Under the National Health Plan for COVID-19 the Australian Government has accelerated the delivery of electronic prescribing. Following the necessary upgrades to both pharmacy and prescriber software electronic prescribing will be progressively available from the end of May 2020, and will see a unique QR barcode known as a "token" sent via an app (if the consumer has an app), SMS or email. The token will be scanned by the pharmacist as a key to unlock the electronic prescription from an encrypted and secure electronic prescription delivery service. Further functionality will be available by the end of 2020. For more information email Capital Health Networks Digital Health team digitalhealth@chnact.org.au, or visit the Australian Digital Health Agency’s website https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/get-started-with-digital-health/electronic-prescriptions.

Capital Health Network has received approval from the Department of Health to facilitate delivery of telehealth video consultation services to general practice and other eligible health care providers within the ACT.

Provision of telehealth services, where appropriate and clinically safe, allows ACT healthcare providers to offer patients an alternative to face-to-face consultations whilst self-isolation, quarantine and other government social distancing measures are in place. Telehealth consultations help to limit the exposure of patients and vulnerable providers to COVID-19 and reduce the risk of transmission within the community.

The telehealth service is being facilitated through the Healthdirect Video Call platform.

Please check with your health care provider whether they are using the Healthdirect Video Call platform, and ensure you have an appointment with your GP prior to accessing the telehealth services.

The Department of Health has provided a fact sheet about the COVID-19 MBS Telehealth item numbers.

Further information about telehealth for consumers is also available from:

The Digital Health Cooporative Research Centre (DHCRC) has indexed and collated a wide range of resources that have been shared and recommended by members of the Australian health community into an online Telehealth Hub.

The Telehealth Hub provides support for health professionals and consumers to implement and use telehealth effectively, with numerous government agencies, professional bodies, organisations and individuals contributing to resources available on the Hub, including Hints and Tips for Health Consumers.