To say that we live in interesting times is a gross understatement. Our frontline primary health care service providers (GP’s) have been managing extremely difficult conditions and ever changing processes under the Medicare system this year.
Historically, GP’s have been able to provide a MHCP and referral so that clients can see a Psychologist for an initial 6 medicare-rebated sessions. After this, GP’s have then provided a client review (item no. 2712) to enable clients to access a further 4 sessions (though GP’s can specify +6 rather than +4 if they prefer) for the calendar year (10 sessions in total).
With the recent introduction of the additional 10 COVID-related sessions per year (announced October 2020), clients are now able to see their GP after the 6+4 sessions to request a further block of 10 sessions. (20 sessions in total per calendar year). Unused sessions can be carried over to the next calendar year.
There has been some confusion around whether clients are eligible to access the further block of 10 sessions within 3 months of their review.
As per the attached fact sheet (page 4), clients can see their GP within 3 month’s of the review and request a new referral letter and GP’s are able to bill one of the consultation item’s (rather than the standard review item no. 2712).
Upon completion of a course of treatment (6+4+10), further sessions can be approved through the standard re-referrel process (6+4 then a further 10 as per above) acknowledging that the cap of 20 sessions per calendar year is abided by.
The arrangement for 20 sessions per calendar year will be in place between 9 October 2020 and 30 June 2022 and will greatly benefit the mental health needs of our clients.
Further, under existing arrangements, clients can also see their GP’s to seek a review after their initial 6 sessions before the 3 month period, providing it is after 4 weeks of the original MHCP and, in these cases, they can be re-referred under item number 2713.