Notice for NZAMM Fellows and Member

Dear NZAMM member both Fellows and General Pracitioners,

RE COVID-19 NZAMM Executive Opinion  

We have all received the information today of the impending Level 4 stage of managing COVID-19 asking all people to stay at or near home and avoid interpersonal contact.

Essential services only are to be open.

The NZAMM Executive are conscious that this is a huge challenge and will require a lot of work for us all.

We ask in particular, that you keep yourselves and your staff safe and that you support the government directive.

We debated what could be the approach of Musculoskeletal Pain Medicine providers.

Executive members are available for discussion if you would like to talk about your own situation.

The following in summary is the results of our discussion:

  1. ACC have sent an email approving the use of Telehealth for Clinical Sevices Contracted providers. You should have this in your business inbox. It is appended below.
  2. Telehealth: We recommend that you use Telehealth in the form of telephone calls, ZOOM or Medical software based programmes for triage and follow-up purposes and in deciding management with your booked patients and waiting list.

We advise against the use of Skype/ MSM/ WeChat/ Whatsapp and other messaging systems as there is more question over their confidentiality. ZOOM is free to use for under 1 hour when registered on a private profile. The link to a document about this is  and is attached for guidance.

  1. Acute/ Subacute and Urgent patients: You may choose to see in person selected acute/ subacute and red flag patients ensuring appropriate isolation and infection control caution.

We are seeking urgent MOH advice about this situation, but we believe it will keep some work away from hospitals and assist GP’s

  1. Non-urgent patients: If your triage reveals non-urgent patients, we recommend these be deferred for the duration of Level 4.

You may wish to send out pain questionnaires and pain diagrams for completion to non-urgent patients to confirm your assessment.

  1. Supporting Referrers: You may choose to communicate with your referrers and offer a telehealth advice/ support service for them.

ACC Email Copied below:

Use of Telehealth for Medical Specialists

Clinical Services Contract

The Clinical Services Contract already allows consultations via Telehealth, with most consultations types able to be conducted electronically:

    • These must be carried out according to the recommendations of the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) and any other relevant professional bodies.

ACC’s definition of Telehealth and its appropriate use will change as needed to align with the current stance of the MCNZ.  At this stage this includes telephone consultations.

    • Consultations provided via Telehealth will be paid at the same rate as the equivalent face to face consultation, using the same service codes.
    • Medical Case Reviews (MCR) and Medical Single Discipline Assessments (MSDA) (service codes CSM1, CSM2, CSA1, CSA2) cannot be undertaken at this time. We will advise you when this is possible again.
    • Link to current MCNZ guidelines may be found here.

Specialist Treatment under Cost of Treatment Regulations

ACC will allow Telehealth consultations for all ACC clients, from 23 March 2020, being seen by medical specialists under the Cost of Treatment Regulations. This will continue for the duration of the Level 3 and 4 COVID-19 response.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Johnston,


New Zealand Association of Musculoskeletal Medicine (NZAMM)


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