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Last week the Federal government announced plans to extend the number of Medicare supported mental health sessions for all Australians. This was part of a response to the pandemic. It was a recognition that whether we are in lock-down or not, the challenges of this year are impacting many people’s sense of wellbeing.
What do the changes mean?
For those of our clients who are accessing a GP Mental Health Care Plan, this now means that you can access up to 20 sessions a calendar year should you need them. Until now, we’ve always had a cap of 10 in a calendar year.
What do I need to do?
Current client? You don’t need to anything if you are currently seeing one of the psychologists in the Centre. When you get near the end of the first 10 sessions, your psychologist will talk to you about your child’s progress and your options. You may need to go back to your GP for a re-referral to access the additional 10 Medicare rebates. Your psychologist will write a report with recommendations for your GP to support this.
Previous Client (wanting to return)? Please feel free to recontact the Centre if you were a previous client and had to stop because you used all 10 sessions this year. You will need to see your GP to obtain a re-referral prior to seeing your child’s psychologist again. Your GP should already have a report from your psychologist from your last contact.
New client to the Centre? Then it’s business as usual if you want to use mental health care rebates. GPs usually prefer you to book in for a long appointment with them to allow time to discuss your child’s wellbeing. From this, they can make an assessment and referral for you as needed. With new referrals (and curent ones), your GP will want you to see them after the sixth and 10th session (if you need more sessions) for a review.
The announcement of the additional Medicare Mental Health rebates was really welcomed news from the government last week. I note that the decision is going to be reviewed in June 2022. However, in the meantime this lets us all get on with the task of caring and supporting our children.