Published: Wed, March 17th

Coronavirus

First and foremost, we thank you for your patience during these very challenging times and appreciate that you all have many questions.

Your MA Board of Directors and CEO met last night to discuss matters we know are impacting our members as a result of the current climate and below are answers to common questions many of you may have.

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 on best practice measures below.

The following decisions have been unanimously passed by your board on Tuesday 17th March, 2020

I HAVEN’T COMPLETED ANY FORMAL PD, WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I CANNOT ATTAIN THIS?

In light of the current situation we all find ourselves in, and with the recommendations from Government being updated on a daily basis, the Board have concurred that an exemption of the mandatory four (4) PD points will be granted for this 2019-2020 membership cycle for all renewing members.

I HAVEN’T COMPLETED A DRY-NEEDLING FACE-TO-FACE WORKSHOP IN THE PAST 2 YEARS AS PER MY REGISTRATION REQUIREMENT NOTED IN THE MA CODE OF PRACTICE? HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MY RENEWAL?

As per the decision to grant an exemption for formal activity for the 2019-2020 membership cycle, an exemption has also been granted for Dry Needling PDP for this same period.

HOW MANY PDP DO I NEED TO RENEW MY MEMBERSHIP?

Members will be required to obtain 20PDP [these can be all within the informal category if you have not completed any formal PDP activity to date] prior to June 30, 2020 as we encourage you to consider your obligations for continuing membership registration. 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 you 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 consider what online PD events they may be able to offer their members in the coming months, so we ask that you please be patient as we are working to develop an online events calendar.

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

WHAT IF MY FIRST AID IS SOON TO EXPIRE AND DUE TO GOVERNMENT ADVICE I AM UNABLE TO ATTEND A COURSE? WILL THE ONLINE COMPONENT SUFFICE?

At this stage we will continue to communicate with private health insurers and other groups that impose first aid as a mandatory requirement to determine what will be an acceptable certificate.

WILL THE MA NATIONAL CONFERENCE GO AHEAD?

In light of the recent Government announcements that a ban be imposed on all mass gatherings of 100+ people, the Board have concurred that the MA National Myotherapy Conference 2020 be moved to an online platform. At this stage, we anticipate no change to the event date, that is Sunday 17th May, 2020 however are unable to confirm any other details as our conference and events committee will continue discussions with our presenters and sponsors.

WHAT WILL THE COST BE FOR THE CONFERENCE CONSIDERING IT WILL BE RUN REMOTELY?

Costs for registration tickets will be determined in the coming weeks, as our committee consider what costs MA will incur for this event, understanding that venue fees, catering and other costs will no longer be a consideration. For those that have pre-purchased tickets for this event, a member of our staff will inform you as to your options for a partial refund, as we anticipate fees will be less than that currently paid, refunds or transfer to alternate events.

WILL ANY MA RUN PD EVENTS THAT HAVE BEEN SCHEDULED CONTINUE TO RUN?

The Board have made the difficult, but what we believe to be the necessary decision, to postpone all Formal PD events currently scheduled on the MA Calendar. At this stage we are in discussions with our event facilitators to determine alternate dates to offer these events. As you may appreciate, with the difficultly of being at the mercy of the pandemic and not knowing when bans or precautions regarding social contact be lifted, MA have taken the position to postpone any formal events until after 1st October. Based on Government and Health Organisation recommendations, these dates may be subject to change.

WHAT IF I HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED A TICKET?

For those that have pre-purchased tickets for any upcoming MA run face-to-face events, a member of our staff will inform you as to your options with regard to maintaining your registration and applying it to a new date once determined with the facilitators, a transfer of ticket to an alternate events, such as the online conference or a refund.

IF I, OR MY PATIENTS REQUIRE SELF-ISOLATION, CAN I PROVIDE REMOTE CONSULTATIONS SUCH AS TELEHEALTH, SKYPE, ZOOM OR OTHER? AM I INSURED TO PROVIDE SUCH SERVICES?

This will be a decision each member chooses to make. MA can only inform you as to guidelines and considerations if you choose to provide remote consultations, such as:
– Your MA insurance will cover you for services provided to existing patients only, not New patient consults, as it is considered challenging for myotherapy treatments to appropriately screen new patients for contraindications remotely;
– Your MA membership insurance will cover these services provided you work within your scope of practice, hence maintaining, as always, comprehensive clinical notes;
– Members with alternate insurance providers must check with those providers;
– It is important that you provide your patients that may elect remote consultations with a comprehensive patient informed consent form [MA are working to provide a template for our members] outlining how the service is to be delivered and covers costs for these services;

CAN MY PATIENTS THAT CHOOSE REMOTE CONSULTATIONS SERVICES RECEIVE PRIVATE HEALTH REBATES FOR EXTRAS?

No. Telehealth or alternate remote consultations conducted by myotherapists are not a rebatable Private Health Insurance service as part of the current legislation.
It is for this reason that we encourage you to clearly outline this when obtaining patient financial consent for these services. MA would also encourage members to clearly note this on your receipts as an example of wording: This is not a rebatable private health insurance service.

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

WHAT IF I CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY MY RENEWAL AS A RESULT OF FINANCIAL HARDSHIP?

We appreciate that these unprecedented events will most likely result in challenging financial times for many members. The MA board are reviewing options in an effort to best support members that may experience difficulty committing to membership renewal payments come June 30, 2020 and will inform you as soon as possible.

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 and will always endeavour to do our very best to answer your calls and respond to emails.

We are working together with other allied health provider groups to obtain updated guidance and advice from the Department of Health that focuses on the specific needs of allied health in primary practice.

You can find more information here:

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