- What is the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative?
Medicare rebates are available for psychological treatment by registered psychologists under the Australian Government’s Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative. This scheme provides considerable assistance to people living with mental health problems, allowing them greater access to psychologists and providing more affordable mental healthcare.
- Can I go directly to a psychologist to receive treatment through Medicare?
You must be referred by your GP, your psychiatrist or paediatrician. Your GP will need to complete a detailed mental health assessment and prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan before referring you to a psychologist. You should book a longer session with your GP to enable time for this.
- What mental health problems can be treated under the Better Access initiative?
‘Mental disorder’ is a term used to describe a range of clinically diagnosable disorders that significantly impact on a person’s emotions, thoughts, social skills and decision-making. The Better Access initiative covers people with mental disorders arising from:
Can I request a referral to a specific psychologist or does my doctor have to choose?
Your doctor must first assess that you require the services of a psychologist. Your doctor may allow you to request a specific psychologist or may refer you to a registered psychologist that he/she recommends. The psychologist in question must be registered and have a Medicare Provider Number for you to be able to claim the Medicare rebate.
WHAT IS A PSYCHOLOGIST?
All psychologists are legally required to be registered with the national registration board, the Psychology Board of Australia, in the same way medical practitioners must be registered. This means that they must be competent and follow a strict Code of Conduct.
Not all counsellors or therapists are registered psychologists. Seeing someone who is registered ensures you receive high quality ethical treatment.