Capital Health Network

Capital Health Network

COVID-19 Resources and information

Date: June 30, 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 Organisationscommunity pharmacy and allied health providers 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 supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The face shields are currently being supplied in bulk to Canberra Health Services and NSW Health, and have been fabricated by ANU Staff volunteers, while the autoclavable utility masks have been sewn by community volunteers.  A PPE fact sheet is available at the online form link below. 

The PPE is available for collection (including courier pick up) from the ANU Acton campus. To request a donation of PPE, please fill out this online form, and the ANU MakerSpace will be in contact with collection details. If you have any difficulties with the form, send an email to makerspace@anu.edu.au with the subject ‘PPE Request’ so your details can be collected manually. 

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 are strict criteria for compulsory bulk billing of vulnerable people by GPs. The 20 May 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:

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.

  • CHN’s commissioned services - With COVID-19 changing the health service landscape, it may be difficult to know what community services are still available for individuals to be referred to – particularly for issues surrounding mental health or alcohol and other drugs. You can see the current status of CHN’s commissioned service providers, how you can make referrals and, importantly, who you can contact for more information.
  • 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):
  • Cyber Security – It is highly recommended that ALL businesses follow the advice of the Australian Government Australian Signals Directorate via the Australian Cyber Security Centre.  This site not only publishes specific COVID-19 Cyber Security Advice, but has detailed advice regarding the current and sustained cyber campaign targeting Australian networks.  This very real threat to Australian networks including everyday business is detailed in Advisory 2020-008. It would be wise to be in contact with your IT Security provider to ensure your risk is minimised as far as possible.
  • 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.
  • Mental healthLife in Mind is filled with excellent links to support sites, programs, webinars and moreincluding the Department of Health’s Head to Health and the NSW Mental Health Commission of New South Wales.
  • 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
  • Changes to faxed (or digital image prescription requirements in the ACT – *Note that this arrangement ceases on 30 September 2020 - Prescribers do not need to send the original of a faxed (or digital image) prescription to a pharmacist where it is prescribed during a Telehealth consultation (either via video-conference or telephone) while the PBS special arrangements are in place. Pharmacists are required to confirm whether the faxed prescription was written as part of a Telehealth consultation in order to meet the ACT record keeping requirements and should make a record of this. Verbal advice from the prescriber or patient is considered sufficient for this purpose, although ideally the prescriber will notate "Telehealth" on the prescription prior to sending. The original script must then be kept in the practice for 2 years. For further information please see Federal legislation, with supporting Federal 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.  Essential and 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.
    * Note that this arrangement is permanent - The original copy of prescriptions written during a face-to-face consultation and then faxed to a pharmacist must still be sent within 7 days to that pharmacist.
  • 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.

  • CHN Business Continuity Resource - links to a variety of support measures in place for general, allied health and specialist practices affected by COVID-19.  These include support measures recently announced by the Australian Government, state and territory governments, tax relief initiatives via the Australian Taxation Office and support packages from Australian banks.  It also looks at how to develop a COVID-19 Plan using reliable resources and how to safeguard you and your staff’s physical and mental health.
  • CHN series of webinars on Business Continuity – visit the CHN Educational Events calendar to register for each webinar presented by acknowledged subject matter experts, plus access recordings:
  • NCCC - The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet established the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission on 25 March 2020. The Commission advises the Prime Minister on all non-health aspects of the pandemic response, and has two key roles:
    • to help minimise and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 on jobs and businesses
    • to facilitate the fastest possible recovery of lives and livelihoods
    • To help businesses reopen and be COVIDSafe the NCCC has published a Checklist for Businesses and launched an online Planning Tool - My business’s COVIDSafe plan.
  • Business financial support - new government support may be available to support your business.  Find financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses here. This is updated regularly. 
  • Workplace entitlements and obligations - Find out about your workplace entitlements and obligations if you're affected by the outbreak of COVID-19, including information about stand downs from work, working arrangements impacted by school closures, and pay and sick leave entitlements.    
  • Visit Health and Life Pty Ltd (Health Practice Advisory Accounting Tax) to download a free copy of Kicking COVID-19 National General Practice Checklist Guide  

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.