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Rural Health Receives Primary Care, Mental Health Telemedicine Boost in Australia

Country Correspondent: Aisha Gomez

Rural residents of Australia will soon have better access to mental health services through telehealth. Regional Health Minister David Gillespie, M.D., announced plans for a new Medicare rebate for online videoconferencing for mental health consultations with psychologists, social workers, and occupational therapists. Under the new scheme, up to seven of the 10 sessions currently offered through Medicare mental health plans will be accessible through telehealth. The initiative is expected to cost AUD 9.1 million over four years. The government is also providing AUD 18.6 million in funding for the Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund that will support 240 accredited intern rotations in primary care in rural general practice settings, in addition to hospital-based rotations.

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