Better Access

Better Access to Mental Health Care – Overview

The Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative provides up to 10 individual psychological therapy sessions.

Patients who reside in rural and remote areas (as defined by MMM 4 to 7) are able to access ten sessions per calendar year from their smart phone and are bulk-billed when referred by their GP.   Rural and remote Australians are incredibly resilient and will benefit immensely from the Australian Government’s new Telehealth Medicare program, which increases access to services by virtually bringing Emerge Psychology’s skilled psychologists into the homes of rural and remote Australians, free-of-charge, and easily!

If seeking a referral to a psychologist, it is best to request a longer consult with your GP to enable them to assess your eligibility for the Better Access program.

If referred by your GP under the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative, you will initially be referred for up to 6 sessions. During the 6th session a re-assessment will be conducted by your psychologist, and a summary report sent to your GP documenting the progress made by the 6th session. A visit will be arranged for you to see your GP soon after the 6th session.

The review

The review with your GP will reconsider your symptoms and the progress made thus far towards your treatment goals. The review is a great opportunity to check further for any need to modify your plan. During the review your GP will assess if further sessions are clinically indicated towards completing CBT; and a re-referral considered for up to 4 further sessions.

Rebate eligibility

A Medicare rebate of $124 per 50+ min individual session is available for eligible patients seeing a clinical psychologist for up to 10 sessions per calendar year. In addition, a clinical psychologist’s group therapy session may attract a Medicare rebate of $34 per 60+ min CBT session (with six to eight participants) providing such group work is specified on your referral.

Out-of-pocket expenses will count towards your Medicare Safety Net.

Private Health insurance may be worth considering to reduce the cost of services depending on your level of ancillary cover. A decision needs to be made as to whether it’s best to access rebates from Medicare by following the claiming process, or by your private health ancillary benefits as only one of these can apply per session.

© 2020 Nicole Hayes, Emerge Psychology