The Federal Budget was handed down on Tuesday 11 May 2021. Some aspects relevant to hearing health included:
Hearing Services Online portal: The Government will provide $5.7 million in 2021-22 to modernise the Hearing Services Online portal that supports the Hearing Services Program to ensure the ongoing viability of the portal and improve service delivery data collection, guaranteeing the program’s client-focused approach. Funding for this measure has previously been provided for by the Government. More than one million Australians suffering hearing loss will benefit from being able to continue to use the HSO portal to access hearing services around the country. In 2019–20, the HSO portal was accessed more than 7.7 million times. The almost 300 hearing service providers who use the portal also will continue to benefit from a site which is client-focused and fit-for-purpose.
Telehealth – $204.6 million to extend telehealth services until 31 December 2021, for services including GPs, specialists, nursing, midwifery, allied health, and allied mental health attendances
New MBS items for case conferencing – $14.2 million for new MBS items for allied health professionals who participate in case conferences which are organised by a patient’s GP. This will support increased allied health participation in multidisciplinary, coordinated care for patients with chronic and complex conditions