Diabetes SA is now making available a telehealth service for people living with diabetes, accessible to all South Australians, regardless of location.

Telehealth is the use of phone or video to provide diabetes education to clients from the comfort of their own home. Given the rapidly growing impact of the COVID-19 situation, Diabetes SA is adopting new technology and quickly rolling out innovative new ways to reach everyone who needs our support.

As part of the Australian Government’s response to COVID-19, new temporary MBS telehealth items have been introduced to ensure continued access to essential Medicare subsidised consultation services. This requires a referral from your GP and a GP Management Plan (which provides you with 5 allied health visits); the consultation is subsidised.

Alternatively, you can self-refer to the Diabetes SA telehealth service for a fee (Diabetes SA members receive a generous discount on the fee).

Diabetes SA encourages all people with diabetes to continue seeing their diabetes care team during the COVID-19 crisis.

It is vital people with a chronic health condition such as diabetes continue with their annual cycle of care via face-to-face or telehealth appointments. If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, or have been living with diabetes for some time, telehealth may be an option for you to receive care and support from your health professional team.

Download Telehealth Diabetes Education Services information

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of telecommunication to provide diabetes education to clients from the comfort of their own home. This can include telephone calls or videoconferencing.

What are the potential benefits of telehealth consultations?

Whilst every person is different, telehealth may improve your access to diabetes education and reduce your need for travel.

How can I have a telehealth consultation with my diabetes educator or dietitian?

To access a telehealth consultation with your Credentialled Diabetes Educator or Accredited Practising Dietitian, you must be referred by your GP to be eligible for Medicare subsidised services.

You may also self-refer. This doesn’t require a referral from your doctor, however, you will need to pay a fee as you will not be eligible for a Medicare subsidised service. In some cases, your private health fund will cover this cost.

The Department of Veteran Affairs may cover the cost of a telehealth consultation for eligible veterans.

The service must be considered as a safe and suitable option for you.

Do I have to participate?

No. You are able to attend a face-to-face consultation with your diabetes educator or dietitian if you prefer. Please note during the COVID-19 period face-to-face consultations with Diabetes SA health professionals may be suspended, depending on Government advice. A telehealth consultation will only happen if it is safe and suitable and you are happy to participate in a telehealth consultation.

You will have been asked to complete a consent form prior to your appointment.

Where are they provided?

You can participate in a telehealth consultation from your home or another suitable venue that provides you with privacy.

Who will arrange it?

You can call Diabetes SA on 1300 198 204 and speak to our health professionals who will guide you through the process. Your doctor can fax a referral form (GP Care Plan) to 8234 2013 and we will call you to discuss your needs.

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

We understand that there are times you may need to cancel, however please let us know as soon as practical.

How should I prepare?

You can help get the best from a telehealth consultation by following these simple steps:

  • Give yourself time to prepare
  • Access the help of a support person if you are not familiar with using technology
  • If you are unable to access equipment for a video conference, a phone call is still okay
  • If you are using video, then look at the camera so you can achieve good eye contact with the health professional
  • If you have a question or need help during the telehealth video consultation, just ask.

What happens at the telehealth consultation appointment?

If using video, you will be on a screen as will the health professional you are meeting with. If you are accessing telephone only, it will be the same as a usual telephone call.

At the start, everyone will introduce themselves. You will be asked some identifying questions such as your name, address, and date of birth. This is to ensure our records match the person we are speaking to. The reason for the consultation will be discussed and then you can ask your questions in the same way as you would in a face-to-face consultation.

Who will be present?

You and the Diabetes SA health professional (Credentialled Diabetes Educator or Accredited Practising Dietitian). As with a face-to-face appointment, your spouse, partner, family or friend may accompany you if you wish.

How private is a telehealth consultation?

The same privacy and confidentiality requirements that apply to face-to-face consultations apply to telehealth consultations. This practice is subject to the Privacy Act 1988 and must comply with obligations related to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, including through telehealth. The Credentialled Diabetes Educator or Accredited Practising Dietitian must maintain confidentiality and privacy standards during consultations, and in creating, keeping and transmitting records.

Will the telehealth consultation be recorded?

No. Diabetes SA does not record telehealth consultations and we do not give clients permission to make their own recordings of a telehealth consultation.

What if I feel I can’t continue?

It’s very unlikely you’ll feel unable to continue with a telehealth consultation. If this does happen, you can leave although consultation fees may still apply.

How much will it cost?

Medicare rebates for telehealth consultations with allied health professionals (this includes Credentialled Diabetes Educators and Accredited Practising Dietitians) are available for the period 27 March 2020 to 31 March 2021 in response to the COVID-19 situation.

All Medicare eligible Australians can now receive these services. A referral and GP Care Plan are required from your doctor. A gap fee does apply.

All eligible DVA clients can access telehealth consultations for the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. Diabetes SA bulk bill and there is no gap payment required from you.

You can also access Diabetes SA’s telehealth services by self-referring. You do not require a referral letter, however, you will be required to pay a fee for the service. Some private health insurers may cover the cost of the consultation. Learn more about consultations with a health professional.

How can I provide feedback?

We are keen to get your feedback so we can continue to improve our service. You can call, email, or write to us. We will ask for your permission to share your feedback anonymously with other healthcare professionals. You can choose for your feedback to remain confidential.

What if I have questions?

If you have any questions about whether a telehealth consultation may be suitable for you, please feel free to contact our health professionals on 1300 198 204.

Where can I get more general information about telehealth consultation?

For more information about eligibility and payments:

You can access the Diabetes SA Client Services Charter which lets you know what you can expect when you interact with us. It defines Diabetes SA’s service delivery standards, your rights and lets you know how to get in touch to provide feedback to us.