Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS
Fact Sheet for Allied Mental Health Professional
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From 1 November 2011, Medicare rebates under the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative are available for patients with a mental disorder to receive up to ten individual and up to ten group allied mental health services per calendar year. These services are generally provided in courses of treatment, with each course of treatment involving up to six services provided by an allied mental health professional. At the conclusion of each course of treatment, the allied mental health professional must report back to the referring medical practitioner on the patient’s progress and the referring practitioner assesses the patient’s need for further services.
Allied mental health services that can be provided under this initiative include Psychological Therapy services provided by eligible clinical psychologists, and Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS) services provided by eligible registered psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.
Rebates for these services are available to patients with a mental disorder who have been referred by a medical practitioner managing the patient under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan; a referred psychiatrist assessment and management plan; or on referral by a psychiatrist or paediatrician.
- Items 80000, 80005, 80010 and 80015 – Individual Psychological Therapy services provided by a clinical psychologist
- Item 80020 – Group Psychological Therapy services provided by a clinical psychologist
- Items 80100, 80105, 80110 and 80115 – Individual Focussed Psychological Strategies services provided by a registered psychologist
- Item 80120 – Group Focussed Psychological Strategies services provided by a registered psychologist
- Items 80125, 80130, 80135 and 80140 – Individual Focussed Psychological Strategies services provided by an occupational therapist
- Item 80145 – Group Focussed Psychological Strategies services provided by an occupational therapist
- Items 80150, 80155, 80160 and 80165 – Individual Focussed Psychological Strategies services provided by a social worker
- Item 80170 – Group Focussed Psychological Strategies services provided by a social worker
- is a psychologist who is registered without limitation as a person who may provide that kind of service under the applicable law in force in the State or Territory in which the service is provided; and
- either, is a member of the College of Clinical Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society (APS); or, has been assessed by the APS as meeting the requirements for membership of that College and continues to meet those requirements; or, is endorsed by the Psychological Board of Australia to practice in clinical psychology.
- the person is a psychologist who is registered without limitation as a person who may provide that kind of service under the applicable law in force in that State or Territory in which the service is provided;
- the person is a member of the Australia Association of Social Workers (AASW) and certified by AASW as meeting the standards for mental health set out in the document published by AASW titled ‘Practice Standards for Mental Health Social Workers’, as in force on 8 November 2008;
- the person
- is a Full-Time Member, or a Part-time Member of Occupational Therapy Australia; and
- is, for a person who provides a focussed psychological strategies health service in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia or the Northern Territory, registered as a person who may provide that kind of service under the applicable law in force in the State or Territory in which the service is provided; and
- has a minimum of 2 years experience in mental health; and
- has given an undertaking to Occupational Therapy Australia to observe the standards set out in the document published by Occupational Therapy Australia titled ‘Australia Competency Standards for Occupational Therapists in Mental Health’, as in force on 1 November 2006.
- any assessments carried out on the patient;
- any treatment provided; and
- recommendations on future management of the patient’s disorder.
Overview of the itemsThere are 20 MBS items for allied mental health services provided on referral by a GP, psychiatrist, or paediatrician:
Eligible allied mental health professionals may use only the items relevant to their discipline. Allied mental health professionals may set their own fees, however, patients will only receive the rebate set in the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
Who can provide these services?All providers wishing to provide Allied Mental Health Psychological Therapy or Focussed Psychological Strategies services using Medicare items must be registered with Medicare Australia as meeting the eligibility requirements of the items.
Psychological TherapyA person is an allied mental health professional in relation to the provision of a psychological therapy health service if the person:
Focussed Psychological StrategiesA person is an allied mental health professional in relation to the provision of a focussed psychological strategies health services if the person meets one of the following requirements:
It is recommended that allied mental health professionals providing FPS services maintain their skills level through continuing professional development (CPD). As of 1 July 2011, providers of FPS services (items 80100 – 80170) are required to have completed ten hours annually of CPD relevant to the provision of FPS to maintain their eligibility to access these items.
A series of online one hour FPS CPD modules are available from the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Association of Social Workers and Occupational Therapy Australia websites to assist providers complete their FPS CPD requirements. For more information visit The Department's website.
What information is required in the report to the referring practitioner?On completion of a course of treatment (maximum of six services in any one referral but may be less depending on the referral and the patient’s clinical need), allied mental health professionals must provide a written report to the referring medical practitioner. The written report must include information on:
Other publicly funded programsWhere an exemption under subsection 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 has been granted to an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service or State/Territory clinic, the allied mental health items apply for services provided by eligible allied mental health professionals salaried by, or contracted to the service, as long as all requirements of the items are met, including registration with Medicare Australia. These services must be direct billed (that is, the Medicare rebate is accepted as full payment for services).
Further informationFurther information can be found at the following websites:
Frequently Asked Questions for Allied Mental Health Providers
MBS Online - for item descriptors and explanatory notes.
Australian Psychological Society
Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
Occupational Therapy Australia
Information can also be sought by calling Medicare Australia on 132 150 (for providers) or 132 011 (for patients).
- Expanded Medicare Healthy Kids Check
- Medicare Teen Dental Plan
- Chronic Disease Dental Scheme
- Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package
- Mindframe National Media Initiative
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