Provider Factsheet - Telehealth in the Program
The Hearing Services Program (program) provides eligible clients with access to hearing assessments, supports and rehabilitation. The services which are provided under the program are outlined in the Schedule of Service Items, which has recently undergone review to incorporate the Schedule of Fees as well as the Hearing Rehabilitation Outcomes (HROs).
Telehealth special arrangements were introduced from 27 March 2020 to 30 June 2021 to allow for alternative service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the positive experiences raised by providers and clients from the expansion of the service delivery mode during the pandemic, the program recognises the importance of enabling the continuation of some service items to be delivered through telehealth. As outlined in the Schedule of Service Items and fees 2021-2022, the following service items can continue to be delivered through telehealth from 1 July 2021.
Telehealth Services available from 1 July 2021
Initial Fitting and Refitting
Fitting services can be completed via telehealth if the technology allows and the practitioner is satisfied client outcomes are not compromised. Written consent for device quotes needs to be obtained.
Practitioners should determine how to best program devices via teleaudiology (e.g. 2cc coupler measurements).
Practitioners should use their clinical judgement to determine whether otoscopy is required at the time of the fitting.
Follow-up of Initial Fitting and Refitting
Follow-up appointments can be completed via telehealth if there are no issues with comfort, sound quality or management (i.e. a successful follow-up is completed).
If the client requires adjustments or there are issues with the fitting, the client will need to attend a face to face appointment, unless the client’s device enables remote programming.
Practitioners should use their clinical judgement to determine if client reviews can be conducted via telehealth.
Aided Client Review: The required program activities must be performed and completed. If the client requires adjustments or a hearing screening, the client will need to attend a face to face appointment, unless the client’s device enables remote programming.
Unaided Client Review: The required program activities must be performed and completed. If the client reports deterioration in their hearing ability and requires a hearing screening, the client will need to attend a face to face appointment.
Replacement fittings can be completed via telehealth when replacing with like for like devices, and if no changes in the client’s ear and hearing health is reported.
Lost devices require a correctly completed Statutory Declaration to be provided before the replacement fitting and retained on the client’s file.
Damaged devices must be returned to the manufacturer to determine if they are damaged beyond repair (DBR). DBR letters from the manufacturer must be provided before the replacement fitting and retained on the client’s file.
Spare aid fittings can be completed via telehealth if the spare aid is identical to the client’s primary device and the client is satisfied with the performance of their current device.
Rehabilitation/ Rehab Plus
Rehabilitation service items can be completed via telehealth.
Further information about telehealth in the program, including service requirements, record keeping and compliance, will be available in the schedule, to be released in May 2021.
Providers must keep detailed and accurate clinical notes on the client file to ensure providers can demonstrate the service requirements were met as outlined in the schedule, including client consent (written), device quotes, maintenance agreements, etc.
Program requirements are monitored in accordance with the program’s Compliance Monitoring and Support Framework. Claiming is routinely checked through audits and claim reviews. Providers will be required to reimburse the Commonwealth and/or refund the client if services do not comply with program requirements.