COVID-19 News and Information

Latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert

Read the very latest alert from the Australian Government Department of Health.

 

9/4: Temporary Telehealth Medicare Items for COVID-19 updated

The MBS telehealth items as result of COVID 19 Information Sheet that provides a summary and links to important information from the Department of Health about the new temporary telehealth items introduced as a result of COVID-19. Read more…

8/4: TAC introduces telehealth item codes for speech pathologists

Speech Pathology Australia provided a submission to TAC last week to support the introduction of item codes for speech pathology services delivered via telehealth. TAC has today confirmed introduction of these new codes. Read more…

8/4: Cochrane healthcare library temporarily unrestricted

Cochrane conducts systematic reviews of healthcare evidence and is currently undertaking various activities relating to COVID-19. Access to the Cochrane library is temporarily unrestricted. There are also a number of projects in the exploratory and planning stage that will be relevant to speech pathologists. Read more…

8/4: COVID-19 resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities

The Australian Department of Health has a collection of resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities about coronavirus (COVID-19). These resources include a poster, audio, digital and video materials. Read more… 

8/4: Webinar: COVID-19 response update for primary care and allied health practitioners

Another webinar in a series hosted by the Australian Department of Health to update primary care and allied health practitioners on the COVID-19 response will commence at 2:30 pm AEST on 9 April. A panel of experts will answer participants’ questions. Read more… 

7/4: Member event- live Facebook Q&A session via Private Practice Facebook community

From 6 pm AEST on Wednesday 8 April 2020
'Government supports for small businesses as a result of COVID -19'
Jacqui Attard, CEO Realise Business

For more details email the Association’s Manager Professional Practice,

3/4: Important New resource: Speech Pathology Australia guidance for service delivery, clinical procedures and infection control during COVID-19 pandemic This is an animiated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

Speech Pathology Australia recognises that speech pathologists and authorities are seeking guidance regarding speech pathology practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. This statement aims to provide in-principle guidance relating to speech pathology service delivery, clinical procedures that pose particular risks, and infection control to minimise transmission of COVID-19. This guidance is provided in the context of a rapidly evolving health care emergency and is subject to change as new data and information becomes available. The Association will continue to provide important updates to members on these critical clinical management decisions. Read the statement...

3/4: More support for members about the Job-Keeper Package

Realise Business Chief Executive Officer, Jacqui Attard (see item from 2/4 on Job-Keeper Subsidy), has shared the following clip with the Association that includes information and advice about the Job Keeper package for business owners, including sole traders. Watch this video…

3/4: Guide for Home Care Providers

The Department of Health Aged Care Update has released a guide on their website for providers of in home support to older people (via CHSP or Home care package funding. "This guide provides information and guidance on how to stay safe from COVID-19 including how providers can prepare their organisation, equipment and resources, and how staff and clients can manage COVID-19". Whilst much of this guide is written for a care worker perspective, members may find useful information and resources to relate to your own practice. The Association has written to the department asking for further advice and specific clarification regarding access to PPE for speech pathologists supporting these older clients at home. Read more…

2/4: COVID-19 Employer Alert: New Job-Keeper Subsidy

As part of the Federal Government’s “Economic Response to the Coronavirus”, a new JobKeeper Payment has been announced. Businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access the JobKeeper subsidy to continue paying their employees. WorkPlacePLUS have provided some information for employers: Read more…

2/4: Telehealth resources available for speech pathologists

The Association has a range of resources relating to Telepractice, including a general FAQ on Telepractice, an FAQ on Technology, Privacy and Security, and an informed consent form template. Read more…

2/4: DVA updates to fee schedules to allow clients to access allied health services via telehealth

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, consultations and clinical assessments may be delivered by speech pathologists to all eligible DVA clients via telephone or video conferencing attendance for the period 1 April to 30 September 2020. Read more…

31/3: Government Stimulus packages for business owners

Realise Business recorded a webinar last week “Recovering form business interruption due to the Covid -19”. Read more…

31/3: Series of webinars on COVID-19

The Department of Health is now running regular webinars on COVID-19. Read more...

31/3: Temporary Telehealth Bulk-Billed Items for COVID-19

More information has been released by the Federal Government around CDM items (along with items AHPs can use with people with autism and people with an Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander background that were announced yesterday). Read more...

30/3: Update: BUPA and rebates for telehealth sessions

In discussions with the Association, BUPA has confirmed they would like to continue to support their customers to access speech pathology services through COVID-19. BUPA has announced that customers who have extras cover for speech pathology will be able to make a claim for speech pathology services delivered via telehealth as of Monday 30 March 2020. Read more...

30/3: COVID-19 Bulk Billed MBS Telehealth Services for Allied Health Providers

The Association has put together some information relating to Bulk Billed MBS Telehealth Services for Allied Health Providers. Read more...  

30/3: Overseas trained qualification and competency assessments and re-entry program members

The Association has updated information on the impact of COVID-19 on overseas trained qualification and competency assessments and re-entry program members.

26/3: Professional Education Events

All face-to-face workshops have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. The Association is working to contact all speakers and put in place plans for workshops to be online. Read more...

26/3: Letter to Allied Health Practitioners from the Government

The Association has received a letter from the Australian Department of Health specifically direct to allied health practitioners. The letter outlines the government’s current and future support for the central role allied health practitioners are playing in the national response to COVID-19. As the letter states: “Allied health professionals are fundamental in meeting community needs in this evolving and complex challenge.” Read more… This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

25/3: Risks associated with speech pathology procedures: transmission of COVID-19

Speech Pathology Australia is aware that many members undertake procedures with clients that involve potential exposure to oral, nasopharyngeal and/or laryngeal/tracheal secretions. Members are seeking information and guidance to support safe practice and reduce the risk of transmission of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more…

25/3: Social distancing update

National Cabinet has asked the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee for advice on options for the progressive scale up of social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more…

24/3: Allied health considered essential services during COVID-19

Breaking news from Federal Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt. In light of some states shutting down ‘non-essential services’, the Minister has confirmed that ALL allied health businesses nationally can continue working and are encouraged to do so. The Minister has also indicated that the Department of Health is now developing full allied health telehealth options, along with other health and medical services, within the week. This will be part of a staged plan and he encourages providers to continue vital face-to-face services where possible. Read more...

23/3: COVID-19 and Easy English

The Association has identified a range of Easy English resources to explain COVID-19. Read more...

20/3: Telepractice resources

The Association is aware that telepractice is increasingly being considered for the provision of clinical services. A range of resources have been located in one place to assist members considering telehealth. Read more....

18/3: Infection Control

Members are reminded to know and utilise infection control procedures appropriate to their clinical setting. Information is available from many sources including the Australian Government Department of Health and the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission. Read more...

18/3: Webinar for member who own/run their own business

Registrations are open for a webinar on recovering from business interruption due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The webinar is on Thursday 26 March from 12 pm AEDT. Read more…

18/3: Coronavirus (COVID-19) campaign resources

A collection of COVID-19 campaign resources from the Australian Department of Health for the general public, including videos and posters.

18/3: NDIS Coronavirus Information

NDIS has a newsletter with information on the COVID-19, including material in Easy English.

18/3: Coronavirus and workplace laws

Association members (including practice owners, employees, contractors and casual workers) can contact WorkPlacePLUS (Anna Pannuzzo 0419 533 434) regarding workplace obligations and entitlements.

17/3: Use of telepractice (telehealth) - UPDATE

The Association is aware that interest in the use of telepractice (telehealth) has increased in response to the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19. The Association has created an FAQ document to provide guidance and resources to members for responsibly implementing and maintaining clinical standards through telepractice. Read more...

Further, for members considering changing their service delivery model from face-to-face to telepractice it maybe appropriate to consider how they would answer the questions on this ‘telepractice’ decision tree. Where there is no evidence published regarding delivering a service via telepractice, clinicians should utilise the same decision-making process for other treatments or methods that do not yet have published evidence. View the Ethical decision making: Should I use this therapy approach? guide for members This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.This is an animiated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

17/3: Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and healthcare managers

A range of resources, including -information for health care and residential care workers, guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities, and information on work attendance and testing for health and residential aged care workers is now available from the Australian Department of Health website. Read more...

16/3: Dedicated page on COVID-19 as it relates to membership

A new page has been created on the website to keep members up-to-date on matters relating to their membership of th Association and related matters (e.g. National Conference, professional development, travel, etc.). Read more...

16/3: Business Continuity: COVID-19

The Association is aware that private practice owners may be facing an uncertain financial situation at present and wish to provide as much support as possible. Attached is some information regarding supports practice owners can use to address the risks for their business. Business Continuity: COVID-19 Information Sheet This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF..

13/3: Support for business from the Australian Government

The Australia government has provided information about financial assistance, eligibility and timing of the new government support for businesses impacted by corona virus. Small business owners may be eligible for additional assistance. For details about the instant asset write-off threshold, cash flow boosts, employer obligations and travelling. Read more...

12/3: Letter from the Chief Medical Officer regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Residential Aged Care This is an animiated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

The Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer has written to Residential Aged Care Providers regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The letter addresses the importance of infection control and health emergency planning in residential care. View the letter.

6/3: Primary Care COVID-19 Preparedness Forum - Communique 6 March 2020 This is an animiated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

On 6 March, the Australian Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy convened a primary care forum to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Forum was attended by a number of general practitioners and other members of the primary care workforce as well as members of organisations representing doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, pathologists, pharmacists, practice managers, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector and other members of the primary care sector.

Outbreak of coronavirus

Speech Pathology Australia is aware that members are seeking advice regarding appropriate actions to take to minimise risks associated with the recent outbreak of coronavirus.

Members should access current advice and information provided (almost daily) by the health department in their state or territory and follow the recommended actions.

In addition, the Australian Health Department has a ‘Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)’ page on its website, which provides up-to-date news, advice and information. There is also a link to information from the Chief Medical Officer.

Members who employ or contract staff need to manage their communications, policies, practices and employer obligations regarding this new public health issue. This includes ensuring any Infection Control policies are current and that staff follow appropriate infection control procedures . WorkPlacePLUS have provides more information regarding employer obligations. For further advice or support member can contact WorkPlacePLUS.