New Vision Psychology applauds the Australian Government’s announcement to provide ten (10) additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions per year, increasing from 10 psychology sessions to 20.
Physical distancing, isolation, and financial uncertainty as a result of coronavirus has undoubtedly increased levels of anxiety, stress and worry among the population and we echo Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s statement that mental health and suicide prevention is a “national priority”.
The additional $100.8 million in funding for the Better Access initiative is welcomed,
The Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (Better Access) initiative provides GPs with a structured framework to provide early intervention, assessment and management of people with mental disorders. In essence, the Better Access initiative hopes to provide better access to mental health practitioners through Medicare.
As such, Medicare rebates are available for psychological treatment by registered psychologists. Under this scheme, individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder can access up to 10 individual Medicare subsidised psychology sessions per calendar year.
As of October 9, 2020 this has been doubled to 20.
What does this mean for you?
Under the Better Access initiative, eligible people can receive up to 20 individual sessions in a calendar year.
This measure applies for an initial two year period and is intended to support psychologists’ clients as the community emerges from the pandemic.
For those who have never accessed mental health treatment under Medicare, the process remains the same.
That is, to be eligible you must be referred by your GP, a psychiatrist or paediatrician.
If a GP is the referring practitioner he or she will need to prepare a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP).
What mental health disorders can be treated under the Better Access initiative?
The Better Access initiative covers people with mental disorders arising from:
- Alcohol use disorder
- Adjustment disorder
- Attention deficit disorder
- Bereavement disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Chronic fatigue
- Conduct disorder
- Co-occurring anxiety and depression
- Dissociative disorder
- Drug use disorder
- Eating disorders
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Mental disorder, not otherwise specified
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Panic disorder
- Phobic disorder
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Psychotic disorders
- Sexual disorders
- Sleep problems
Our counselling fees (after Medicare rebate) are published here.