We welcome a new government initiative that provides for an additional ten Psychology sessions with a Medicare rebate beginning Friday 7th August 2020. This means that if you have used your current ten therapy sessions on a Mental Health Care Plan then you can see your GP for a review to receive an additional ten sessions (total of 20).
The Medicare rebates are $126.80 when you see a Clinical Psychologist and $87.45 when you see a General Psychologist. If you have reached your Medicare threshold then you may be eligible to receive up to 90% of the fee in a rebate.
The new initiative applies to you if you live in Victoria as the state is subject to further restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative will also apply to you if you live in other states of Australia and need to quarantine or self-isolate under Public Health Orders.
This is an important recognition of the increased need for psychological support in the community as we grapple with extraordinary circumstances. The government has shown a commitment to increased mental health spending because increased stress, worry, illness and the effects of isolation is happening across our communities. It is increasingly difficult for people with existing mental health conditions and has led to a substantial increase in symptoms in many people without pre-existing conditions.
How do I get access to a Mental Health Care Plan?
- Your first step is to book a long appointment with your GP. This can be a telehealth appointment.
- Talk to your GP about your symptoms – be it worry, stress, problems with sleep, or mood changes. Going through multiple lockdowns has meant changes to employment, financial insecurity, social isolation, parenting stress and relationship stress. They will ask you some questions about your symptoms and check whether you feel safe or at risk. Your GP is your first support.
- Talk to your GP about obtaining a referral to a Psychologist of your choosing and ask for a Mental Health Care Plan to be created.
- Ask your GP for a copy or ask them to send it to your preferred Psychologist
- Book an appointment with a Psychologist
- The Mental Health Care Plan with the referral provides for six initial sessions that are eligible for a Medicare rebate (between $128.40 and $87.45). (Please note there may be a gap payment). Then after a review with your GP you may then be eligible for a further four sessions.
How do I access the ten additional Psychology Sessions?
If you live in Victoria or are quarantining under a Public Health Order you will be required to:
Have a Mental Health Care Plan
- Have used all of your ten sessions in the current calendar year; and
- Undertake a review with your GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician after your 10th session to determine if you are eligible for sessions 11-20.
You can use these sessions until March 31st 2021 even if public health orders are lifted.
This is an important step forward in providing for continuity of care during this pandemic. Please contact us if you would like to discuss the new initiative and what it might mean for you.
Our focus is upon your well-being and so let us help you with the next step.