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From the 1st November 2006, the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative has allowed people with a diagnosed mental disorder to access psychology services through Medicare.
Patients will need to be referred by a GP in the context of a GP Mental Health Care Plan, or by a psychiatrist or paediatrician. When making an appointment with your GP for the Mental Health Care Plan assessment, it is recommended that patients ask for a longer consultation.
For patients to be eligible for rebates from Medicare, they must have a clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly affects their cognitive, emotional or social abilities. Click here for a list of disorders able to be treated under a GP Mental Health Care Plan.
Medicare rebates are available for psychological treatment by registered psychologists under the Australian Government's Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative. This scheme provides considerable assistance to people living with mental health problems, allowing them greater access to psychologists and providing more affordable mental healthcare.
Under this scheme individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder can access up to 10 individual and 10 group treatment sessions per year.
Psychologists study the way people feel, think, act and interact. Through a range of strategies and therapies they aim to reduce distress and to enhance and promote emotional wellbeing. Psychologists are experts in human behavior. They have studied the brain, memory, learning and human development. Psychologists can assist people who are having difficulty controlling their emotions, thinking and behaviour, including those with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, serious and enduring mental illness, addictive behaviours and childhood behaviour disorders.
All psychologists are registered with the national registration board, the Psychology Board of Australia, in the same way medical practitioners must be registered. This means that they must be competent and follow a strict Code of Conduct.
Not all counsellors or therapists are registered psychologists. Seeing someone who is registered provides a level of confidence in the training (six years) and ongoing professional development of the person you may be putting your trust into.
"Mental disorder" is a term used to describe a range of clinically diagnosable disorders that significantly impact on a person's emotions, thoughts, social skills and decision-making. The Better Access initiative covers people with mental disorders arising from a wide variety of life circumstances. If you feel you might benefit then contact David Broadbent today.
To access mental health treatment under Medicare you must be referred by your GP, a psychiatrist or a paediatrician. If a GP is the referring practitioner he or she will need to prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan before referring you to a psychologist. You should book a longer session with your GP to enable time for this.
Under the scheme a psychologist must be registered with Medicare and have a Medicare Provider Number in order to be able to provide services under the Better Access scheme. Without a Medicare Provider Number you shall not receive a rebate.
In order to receive a Medicare rebate under the Better Access initiative, you must be referred to a psychologist by an appropriate medical practitioner (GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician). The doctor must first make an assessment that you need the services of a psychologist. If you are already seeing a psychologist, discuss this with your doctor. If the doctor considers it appropriate they can provide you with a GP Mental Health Care Plan. You shall then be eligible for a rebate for future appointments following the date of referral.