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Welcome to the AMA's online newsletter

6 April 2020 Issue # 136

Feedback on Med e-link (WA) is welcomed. Send your views to .

Calls for private pathology to be used to expand COVID-19 testing

Increased testing of people for COVID-19 should be immediately agreed by the State Government so that we comply with World Health Organization recommendations in the context of a pandemic.


AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller said that Western Australia had the nation’s second lowest rate of COVID-19 testing according to health figures published last week, with an immediate boost needed, obviously using the massive untapped potential of private pathology testing.


“Our doctors know what they are doing – if they order a test, it must be done. And it should be done through the usual widespread community channels that all doctors and patients have been accustomed to using for many years,” Dr Miller said.


To continue reading, please visit the AMA (WA) website


AMA (WA) applauds life-saving PPE contribution for COVID-19 fight

A $160 million effort to source and secure vital medical supplies and equipment by the Minderoo Foundation and Fortescue Metals Group, with input from the Australian Medical Association (WA), will directly help to save the lives of Western Australian health workers battling COVID-19.


President Dr Andrew Miller said the boost in availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks in particular, would have a huge impact on the training, safety and morale of healthcare workers in first response, General Practice, aged care, and public and private hospitals across the system.


To continue reading, please visit the AMA (WA) website


New COVID-19 Items Released

An expanded list of COVID-19 telehealth items, an increase to the PIPQI, and an increase to the bulk billing incentive were all announced recently.
These new arrangements were brokered by the AMA with the Federal Government for general practitioners and other non-GP specialists to allow continuation of normal patient care and reduce the need for scarce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 
Telehealth consultations are now available to all Medicare-eligible Australians. The requirement to have seen the consulting GP within the last 12 months has also been waived. 
The details of the new measures include: 

* Doubling the bulk billing incentive for general practitioners to treat patients by telehealth without patient payment.

* An enhanced Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) for general practices for the next two quarters to support general practice business continuity during the COVID-19 crisis.

A summary of changes to item numbers is available from MBS Online here.

AMA COVID-19 Fact Files

The AMA has released their first COVID-19 Fact File – Transmission and Personal Protective Equipment by AMA Vice President Dr Chris Zappala.


Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the Federal AMA will publish The COVID-19 Fact Files – clinical articles from the frontline of health care, dealing with the issues at the core of keeping Australians healthy while the nation works together through the pandemic. The articles will be evidence-based and reflect the reality of life for doctors working daily to help all Australians survive and maintain their health in the time of COVID-19.


To view the COVID-19 Fact File, please visit the AMA website


Dealing with COVID-19 as an Employer

Doctors who run private practices not only face clinical challenges related to COVID-19.  Many employ staff and now face difficult decisions and conversations about how the manage their employees during this crisis. The AMA (WA) supports members by providing advice and guidance about how to manage your employees. Some of the questions we have responded to recently include:

Q: What if my employee is symptom free, but required to self-isolate because of Government orders?
A: In that case, the employee may be ready and willing, but no longer able to come to work. As a general rule, therefore, they may access annual leave or LSL (if accrued) entitlements, but no sick/personal leave, unless they are actually unfit for work due to illness or injury.

Q: What if I need to reduce my workforce as I do not have sufficient work for my current employees?
A: An employer cannot unilaterally make changes to an employee’s contracted hours of work or any other material terms and conditions of their employment. The parties can, however, always make changes if these are mutually agreed to. You will need to assess firstly whether you need to just generally reduce the hours across all your employees, or whether only certain positions will need to be made redundant.  Further guidance is available on our FAQ document.

The AMA (WA) Workplace Relations Team has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions document for doctors dealing with COVID-19 as an Employer. AMA (WA) members can access the FAQ on the AMA (WA) COVID-19 landing page (under the general practitioners and private practice tabs). 


Goals of care and end-of-life in the COVID-19 environment

The WA Department of Health and the WA Cancer & Palliative Care Network have identified that Goals of Care conversations and the completion of Goals of Patient Care clinical documents will be a priority in the COVID-19 environment. To ensure key resources are available to health professionals, a new landing page has been launched on the WA Health website; Goals of Care in the COVID-19 environment.

The resources aim to support this clinical care planning process and facilitate proactive shared discussion and decision-making between the clinician, patient and family/carer. Goals of Care is currently in use across many Western Australian health care services. As material becomes available, this will be uploaded to the page which is accessible from the WA Health COVID-19 page under the Health Professionals drop down.


Economic Response to the Coronavirus

In response to the economic impact of the Coronavirus, the Government has announced a number of initiatives to help individuals and businesses at this uncertain time.


The changes include accessing some of your super if you’re in financial stress, tax concessions for small businesses and changes to social security benefits. An overview of the initiatives and changes that may help you can be found online here


During these uncertain times, professional financial advice is even more important. Financial advisers look at your current circumstances and recommend the most appropriate course of action for you and your family. Please contact AMA Financial Services at or 1800 262 287 to speak to one of our Financial Advisers if you need any help and support with your financial circumstances.


COVID-19 scam messages targeting Australians

ASD’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a COVID-19 themed scam being distributed via text message.


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s Scamwatch has received multiple reports of COVID-19 themed scam texts being sent to members of the public.


The text messages appear to come from ‘GOV’ as the sender and they include a link to find out when to ‘get tested in your geographical area’ for COVID-19.


The link in these text messages is not legitimate, and if clicked on, may install malicious software on your device, designed to steal your banking details.


If you receive one of these messages, delete the message and do not click the link.


If you’ve received one of these messages and you’ve clicked on the link, or you’re concerned your personal details have been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately.


If you’ve suffered financial loss from cybercrime, report it to ReportCyber at


Quality, trained medical administration candidates are available now at a reduced cost to your business!

Are you looking to expand your team? The top graduates of the AMA003 Medical Reception Course are ready to commence a career in medical administration! Through AMA Recruit’s Medical Receptionist Graduate Program, we can offer a permanent placement recruitment service to your Practice.

Our graduate recruitment package includes:

  • 1 trained full-time or part-time employee
  •  All candidates qualified by AMA Recruit
  • A comprehensive 4-week integration plan

There is also the opportunity to complete additional courses through AMA Training Services at discounted rates.

To find out more about this opportunity, or for more information about our temporary and permanent recruitment services, please contact Kristel Maltese, AMA Recruit’s specialist medical administration recruitment consultant, on 9273 3000 or via email.


Webinar: Pandemic practicalities – medico-legal advice live online

Wednesday 8 April | 6.00pm AWST

What are your obligations to patients or when managing staff during the COVID-19 challenge? Are you fulfilling your med-legal & professional responsibilities in this new environment?

Join expert staff from MDA National's Medico-legal Advisory and Support in Practice teams to:

  • benefit from the knowledge gained through the queries Members have asked over the last few weeks
  • have your own questions answered.

For further information or to register, please visit the MDA National website.


WA BMW & MINI online sale event


WA BMW & MINI Dealer group will be launching its first ever online sale event and are giving AMA (WA) members priority access! AMA (WA) members who purchase a new BMW or MINI will also receive the standard 5 Year service package and free dealer delivery.

Register your interest online here before Wednesday 8 April to receive a preview of their sale vehicles.


Write in and win

Got something to say? We would love to hear from you!

The AMA (WA)'s publication Medicus is calling on all members to send through any letters they would like to share with the profession. 

Write to us (200 words max) at - the best letter will win anything from movie/theatre tickets to bottles of wine. 


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