CORONAVIRUS

The information on this page contains specific advice to support our members, community and patients answering common questions many of you may have. We continue to monitor the situation and will provide you with relevant up-to-date information as it becomes available. For all information about CORONA Virus Australia, visit click here.

You can reach out to our team at [email protected]

WORKING DURING COVID-19

WHAT DO THE STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS MEAN FOR VICTORIAN MEMBERS?

Ahpra registered allied health professions as well as audiology, dietetics, exercise physiology, orthotists and prosthetists, social work and speech pathology to provide essential face to face services;
  • to prevent a significant deterioration in functional independence which would result in an escalation of care needs (such as increased frequency in treatment, significant increase in pain, specialist input, or substantial increase in recovery time as a result of delayed care)
  • for assessment and diagnostic purposes for those people whose care has been delayed during stage 4 restrictions, and where further delay likely to result in deterioration (e.g. diagnostic imaging and assessment for prescription of assistive technology)
  • to provide essential pre-operative or post-operative elective surgery care
Other healthcare providers, such as myotherapy, naturopathy or remedial massage therapy will also be able to provide face to face services which would prevent a significant deterioration in functional independence resulting in an escalation of care needs (such as increased frequency in treatment, significant increase in pain, specialist input, or substantial increase in recovery time as a result of delayed care) for those people who are on an endorsed care plan.
To assist members in making the right decision with regard to face to face care, view our decision making tool here.

WHAT IS THE LATEST ADVICE ON THE USE OF PPE FOR ALLIED HEALTH IN PRIVATE PRACTICE?

View the most up to date information about the recommendations and correct use of PPE here.
For up to date information in Victoria, where Stage 4 restrictions are in place, your guide to PPE use and requirements can be read HERE.

MYOTHERAPISTS ON THE NSW/QLD BORDER

The Queensland border closed to NSW at 1am Saturday 8 August. If you are a myotherapist that lives in the NSW/QLD border zones, you will need to apply for a Qld Border Declaration Pass.

WHAT RESTRICTIONS APPLY IN MY JURISDICTION?

WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES AROUND TELEPRACTICE?

All practicing members are strongly encouraged to carefully evaluate patients lists and provide telepractice (remote consultations) where it is deemed practically appropriate. All members need to make your own decision about whether to provide remote services (see the MA Telepractice Policy) Your MA membership insurance will cover these services provided you work within your scope of practice, including maintaining, as always, comprehensive clinical notes. It is important that you provide your patients who elect for remote consultations with a comprehensive patient informed consent form outlining how the service is to be delivered, costs and that private health insurance may not cover remote consultations.

Additional resources for Telehealth can be found here.

CAN MYOTHERAPISTS AND REMEDIAL MASSAGE PRACTITIONERS OPERATE DURING COVID RESTRICTIONS?

This is dependant upon which jurisdiction your practice is in and what lockdown restrictions apply.

Metro Melbourne members members please read what restrictions apply to your in-person practice here.

Regional Victoria remain under Stage 3 restrictions and should expect to remain under similar restrictions for now. We expect further information about potential easing of those requirements as part of the regional roadmap to come next week.

As a result of our advocacy efforts throughout the first lockdown measures earlier this year, MA are pleased that we were able to successfully lobby for myotherapists and qualified remedial massage therapists to operate at their own discretion in all other States and Territories outside of Victoria, as an essential business activity.

If you are frustrated with the mixed messages coming from Government for healthcare professionals, every Australian has the right to contact their local member of parliament. You can find your local member of parliament here: FederalACTNSWNTQldSATasVicWA. Should you wish to do this, we can provide you with our latest update to forward to them.

SHOULD I CEASE TO PRACTICE?

Some of you are asking if you should close your clinics. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.

Your decision should take into account current government advice, your financial situation, client expectations, your own health and best practice measures. We have provided some links below to help you make your decision.

Whatever your decision, it is important to respect government advice on Coronavirus hygiene. Read the latest advice from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd in relation to the wearing of surgical masks for healthcare service providers here.

WHAT IF I CONTINUE TO PRACTICE?

For those of you who are make the choice to remain open within jurisdictions that permit in-person care for myotherapists, we understand that you may want some help assuring your patients that you are maintaining current hygiene standards. Additional resources, including downloadable hygiene posters can be found here.

To help you continue to run your business during this period, we have provided some posters below to help assure your patients that you are maintaining current hygiene standards and MA have developed for members a Staged to Full Scale Business Activity Plan.

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE IN RELATION TO COVID-SAFE PLAN

MA suggests a staged return to business activities, in line with Covid-19 restrictions. An easy-to-follow guide to this plan can be downloaded here.This plan will be updated in accordance with Government advice.

The Victorian government guidance in relation to what’s required as part of the COVID-safe plan that all businesses must now have if they fall into category 2 can be found at https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planning/covid-safe-business/creating-a-covid-safe-workplace.

IF I CHOOSE TO CONTINUE TO PRACTICE, AM I INSURED?

Yes. As long as you follow all Government recommendations including best practice hygiene controls and work within your scope of practice, your insurance will cover you. To read more about our Insurance cover with BMS Group, see here.

For those in Stage 4 restricted areas:

Should MA members choose to provide face to face myotherapy care (that does not meet the overarching criteria of endorsed care plan patients only) against the advice of the Association and Government, this may likely result in your insurance being void if a claim is raised against you during the period of which Government restrictions have been imposed.

This action may also come before our ethics committee as a breach of the association codes and may result in termination of your membership.

You are encouraged to contact your association if you have any questions or are unclear about what restrictions apply to you in your jurisdiction.

AM I INSURED TO PROVIDE REMOTE SERVICES?

Each member needs to make your own decision about whether to provide remote services (see the MA Telepractice Policy) Your MA membership insurance will cover these services provided you work within your scope of practice, including maintaining, as always, comprehensive clinical notes. It is important that you provide your patients who elect for remote consultations with a comprehensive patient informed consent form outlining how the service is to be delivered, costs and that private health insurance may not cover remote consultations (see next FAQ).

CAN MY PATIENTS RECEIVE PRIVATE HEALTH REBATES FOR REMOTE CONSULTATIONS?

No. At this stage,  video/remote consultations conducted by myotherapists are not a rebatable private health insurance service.

We encourage you to clearly outline this when obtaining patient financial consent for remote consultations. MA also encourages members to clearly note this on your receipts – for example this is not a rebatable private health insurance service.

In the interest of reducing the likelihood of confusion for patients receiving remote consultations, we strongly recommend providers remove their provider number from these receipts.

Decisions by government regarding video/remote consultations are rapidly evolving. We are in regular contact with the private health insurers to ask them to reconsider whether they will pay rebates for remote consultations.

LOOKING AFTER MY MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Recognising that this is a difficult time for our members, MA want to remind members that it is important that you practice self-care and reach out if you are experiencing challenges in managing your mental health throughout these and other times. View mental health helplines here.

ONLINE PD OPPORTUNITIES

In addition to the below, MA are excited to have launched their online PD store. MA members can contact our office for a special discount code, available until 31st August 2020 ([email protected] Subject: online store member code).

COVID 19 TRAINING

Government provides free online training.

COVID-19 infection control training https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covid-19-infection-control-training

Infection Prevention and Control eLearning Modules https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/our-work/infection-prevention-and-control/infection-prevention-and-control-elearning-modules

MA endorsed professional development partners  – view our endorsed PD partners for online activity

https://www.myotherapy.org.au/membership/professional-development/accredited-pd/

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

I HAVEN'T COMPLETED ANY FORMAL PD. WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

In light of the current situation, the Board have granted an exemption of the mandatory four (4) Formal PD points for this 2019-2020 membership cycle for all members. See our online store for more PD options here.

I HAVEN'T COMPLETED A DRY-NEEDLING FACE-TO-FACE WORKSHOP IN THE PAST 2 YEARS - HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MY RENEWAL?

In light of the current situation, the Board have granted an exemption of the dry needling PDP requirements for this 2019-2020 membership cycle for all members.

HOW MANY PDP DO I NEED TO RENEW MY MEMBERSHIP?

Members are required to obtain 20 PDP prior to August 31st, 2020 as part of your obligations for continuing membership registration.

The Board has determined that all 20 points can be within the informal category for this 2019-2020 membership cycle for all members. A comprehensive list of informal PDP activity can be found in Appendices 4-7 of your MA PD guidelines. It is important that you consider your informal PD activity to determine that it meets the MA PD Guidelines.

MA’s PD and Events committees will be working closely with our staff to update our online store to continue to bring you current, relevant and exciting evidence-informed material.

PD exemptions may still apply for exceptional circumstances. All applications for exemptions must be submitted to [email protected]

MY FIRST AID WILL EXPIRE SOON – WHAT SHOULD I DO?

MA will allow membership renewals for members whose first aid has expired after 12 March 2020. Please note this waiver is temporary and we will need to review it as life returns to normal post-Covid19.

All Private Health Insurer funds have granted a temporary amnesty on renewal requirements for expired first aid certification up until 31st August, 2020. The amnesty will be reviewed on a monthly basis and notifications to members provided.

For members in regions restricted to tighter lockdowns, you are encouraged to enrol in an accredited refresher program, and even if this is postponed beyond your expiry date, health funds will acknowledge proof of enrolment and your provider numbers and membership will not be impacted.

ARHG have advised the following:

VIC ONLY – due to the current pandemic situation in Victoria, ARHG will extend the amnesty for renewing First Aid to 31 December 2020 (keeping in mind, we would expect providers to renew earlier if circumstances permit).

All other states – It is expected that providers who reside in all other states (excluding Victoria) will have renewed their First Aid certification by 30th September 2020.. If providers have not renewed their certification by this time, they will be removed from the ARHG provider list until their certificate is renewed. Please note, for those providers who are removed from the provider list due to expired first aid, you will not be eligible for a backdate when your first aid is updated.

WILL SCHEDULED MA RUN PD EVENTS PROCEED?

The Board has made the difficult, but we believe necessary, decision to postpone a number of formal PD events currently scheduled on the MA Calendar.

At this stage we are in discussions with event facilitators to arrange alternate dates for those events that have been postponed so that we can provide new dates as soon as this information becomes available.

MA has taken the position to postpone any formal events until after 1st October. However, based on Government recommendations, these dates may be subject to change.

WHAT IF I HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED A TICKET?

For those of you who have pre-purchased tickets for any upcoming MA run face-to-face events, a member of our staff will contact you to discuss your options for maintaining your event registration and applying it to a new date, transferring your ticket to another event, or a refund.

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP

WHAT IF I CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY MY RENEWAL DUE TO FINANCIAL HARDSHIP?

We appreciate that these unprecedented events are presenting financial challenges for many members. Members who may experience difficulty committing to membership renewal payments come August 31st, 2020 are encouraged to contact our team so that we can discuss what options are available.

ECONOMIC STIMULUS AND OTHER ASSISTANCE.

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Federal and State Governments have announced, and are continuing to announce stimulus packages. Stay informed by visiting business.gov.au

In addition to this, the below dedicated JobKeeper hotlines that have been established by the major banks and should be operational from this morning.

CBA: 13 26 07

ANZ: 1800 571 123

NAB: 1800 JOBKEEPER

Westpac: Westpac 1300 731 073 / St George 1300 730 196 / Bank of Melbourne 1300 784 873 / Bank SA 1300 669 472

Other assistance avenues are also available and we have provided links below to assist you.

CONTACTING MA DURING COVID19

I AM TRYING TO CONTACT MA, BUT THE LINES ARE BUSY

At this stage we ask for your understanding. We are currently experiencing an unprecedented number of phone calls and emails. We have a small staff and a limited number of telephone lines. We are doing our very best to answer your calls and respond to emails.

Please be patient and respectful with our staff.

In addition to answering your calls and emails, we are working together with other allied health provider groups to obtain updated guidance and advice from the various governments that focuses on the specific needs of allied health in primary practice.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TALK TO MA RIGHT NOW?

We are looking at setting up two member Q&A teleconferences in the very near future:

1 – economic stimulus package and other assistance for myotherapists
2 – covid19 issues impacting myotherapists

Stay tuned – we will inform you as soon as we have more details.

What if I have to let the staff at my practice go?

If you have already had to make the tough decision to stand your staff down, please consider providing them with a letter such as this, as it will be required if asked, for Centrelink benefits. For further info see Fairwork site.

We appreciate your patience in these trying times and are here to support you in the best capacity we can. We appreciate that there may be some questions you have that are not answered in this notification, so we ask that you please email our President Nick Steward directly at [email protected] 

Regards,
MA Board of Directors