Dear patient/ family and friends,
Due to the evolving COVID19 situation globally Alice Specialised Medicine is having to operate very differently. Currently Susie and myself (and Josh, our son) are in mandated self-quarantine due to recent overseas travel. Please bear with us as we restructure the way our clinic is run. For the time being routine face to face consultations are not available, and for the next few months unlikely to happen without prior arrangement. We get out of mandated quarantine this Friday 3rd April 2020.
Medicare has introduced similar item numbers to what we could previously use when face to face. These include mental health consults, ATSI health assessments (which are usually every 9 – 12 months and link you to the “Close the Gap” benefits with scripts), GP Management plans and Team Care Arrangements (which then link to the 5 allied health provider visits – although in this current climate, we are not recommending any unnecessary face to face contact for podiatry, physio/chiro, exercise physiology but dietician and diabetic educator visits would work well telemedicine style). By no means does this include everything and in particular we are very conscious we had skin cancer procedures cancelled, and we need to think of how to still offer face to face “spot checks” if we can source the appropriate PPE – personal protective equipment. In particular melanomas (MMis and MMinv) and aggressive squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) are still needing to be managed whereas a basal cell carcinoma ( BCC) or non-changing skin lesion would be monitored and not actively cut out in this current COVID19 situation.
Medicare has created a new item numbers which if you fit the criteria, we will utilise and not charge those patients who are eligible. This can only be used for patients who have been physically seen at our clinic within the last 12 months. For everyone else we will attempt to run telemedicine clinics, where patients who are have a current file (within the last 2 years) can ring us, then there will be a $75 fee (and currently there is no rebate) paid by credit card first. I can then ring you back at a pre-arranged time, eg. If the appointment is scheduled for 3pm, I might ring slightly earlier or up to 30 minutes later, as it is very likely I will run late.
We strongly advocate that if you can stay home, please do so. If you have school aged children please keep them out of school if you can. Hand washing is super important, using soap and water (counting for up to 20 – 30 seconds) and don’t touch your face, especially eyes, nose and mouth. If you need to cough or sneeze, use your elbow (like a dab) and then wash your hands afterwards. There is now a Coronavirus App that can be downloaded to your smart phone that the Australian Government has put together which gives good updates and information. We are in the process of sourcing our funded fluvax and private fluvax and will be running the flu clinics outside in the back car park. Logistics will be tricky but we are motivated to try and vaccinate as many of our patients as possible. Data coming out from overseas shows if there is a co-infection with COVID19 such as influenza or pneumococcal the outcome is poor. There will not be a vaccine for COVID19 for at least 6 – 12 months but there are numerous scientists working on one. We are hopeful to run a number of these clinics the week prior to Easter specifically having the funded > 65 year old age group first as they are the highest risk group. If you can get the fluvax elsewhere sooner, we encourage you to get it.
I have attached some information that I think can be helpful to better understand the current situation. Please feel free to share to your friends and family. We are all in this together so be kind to one another. As the situation evolves, we will attempt to communicate more current information if we feel it will benefit our patient group. Please be mindful Susie and I are trying to restructure our business, and appreciate everyone is anxious and under pressure, so please try not to bombard us with requests we cannot facilitate. Susie will be answering phones between 0900 – 1300 approximately, otherwise email is the best way to communicate if necessary. Again if you think the information attached is helpful please feel free to forward this to family and friends to spread the message, and to stay as safe as possible.
Other useful resources:
Dr. Deb Mitchell and Ms Susie Leister
Practice Principal and Practice Manager
Alice Specialised Medicine
PO Box 8574 (17 Stuart Highway)
ALICE SPRINGS NT 0871
ph 08 8952 7774
fax 08 8952 6774