Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program

The Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) provides a non-MBS incentive payment to community based general practices, private psychiatrist services, Divisions of General Practice, Primary Health Networks and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Services who engage mental health nurses to assist in the provision of coordinated clinical care for people with severe mental disorders.

Page last updated: 21 April 2016

April 2016 important notice for MHNIP service providers

Due to the transitioning of mental health nurse funding to PHNs, the following arrangements will apply for the remainder of 2015-16:
  1. Organisations must submit claims for all outstanding sessions to the Department of Human Services by close of business, 30 April 2016. Normal payment eligibility rules will apply. To ensure claims are received by 30 April 2016, claims should be faxed to 1300 581 573.
  2. From 1 May 2016, organisations must submit all claims for sessions to the Department of Health at MHNIPclaims@health.gov.au or via post to MHNIP Claims, MDP 11, GPO Box 9848, Canberra, ACT, 2601. Claims must be submitted using a new claim form, which will be available on the Department of Health website shortly. New claims and previously rejected claims submitted on the Department of Human Services claim form will not be able to be paid.
  3. All claims for 2015-16 sessions must be received by the Department of Health by close of business Friday 15 July 2016.
Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program New Claim Form (1 May 2016 - 30 June 2016) (PDF 138 KB)
Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program New Claim Form (1 May 2016 - 30 June 2016) (Word 247 KB)
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Updated guidelines (April 2016)

The MHNIP guidelines were updated in April 2016 to reflect the transitioning of mental health nurse funding to Primary Health Networks and will be in place for the remainder of 2015-16 only.

Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program Guidelines (April 2016) (PDF 158 KB)
Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program Guidelines (April 2016) (Word 92 KB)
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MHNIP evaluation

The MHNIP evaluation was conducted during 2012 and the final report released on the then Department of Health and Ageing website on 24 December 2012.

The evaluation notes support for the program from GPs, psychiatrists and mental health nurses with evidence that patients experience improved health outcomes. However, the report highlighted a number of areas for improvement including the need to address the uneven geographic spread of MHNIP services, the lack of control over program expenditure, and the need to strengthen operational guidelines and improve data collection.

The evaluation findings and options to redesign the MHNIP are being considered in the context of the National Mental Health Commission's review of mental health programs.

The Australian Government tasked the National Mental Health Commission to undertake a review of all existing services.

The final report of the review, Contributing lives, thriving communities, was released on 16 April 2015 and presents a plan for broad, long term reform of the mental health system. The final report can be accessed at the National Mental Health Commission's website. Top of page

July 2015 important notice for MHNIP service providers

Funding has been provided to maintain the MHNIP at existing service levels from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016. This is consistent with the Government's announcement to extend funding for existing mental health programs for 12 months.

Future arrangements for mental health programs, including MHNIP, were considered in the context of the final report of the Australian Government Response to Contributing lives, thriving communities - Review of Mental Health Programs and Services, released on 26 November 2015 which can be accessed at the Department of Health website.

This continued funding will ensure existing eligible organisations and nurses can maintain client service levels, and continue to make claims to the Australian Government Department of Human Services so patients receive the care they need. Organisations can continue to accept new patients into the program and engage new nurses, as long as the overall service levels of the organisation are maintained.

The Department of Human Services wrote to existing organisations advising them of their session levels for 2015-16 in June 2015. These allocations were based on organisations' 2014-15 allocations, taking into account the number of 2014-15 sessions conducted, claimed, and paid by the Department of Human Services.

Where organisations had fully or substantially utilised their 2014-15 allocation, they were offered the same allocation for 2015-16. Where organisations had utilised less than their 2014-15 allocation, they were offered a session allocation for 2015-16 based on projected service levels in 2014-15.

Organisations that received a reduced allocation in 2015-16 were eligible to seek a review of their allocation. Organisations that requested a review of their initial allocation before 31 July 2015 were notified of the outcome of their requests on 1 October 2015.

For more details regarding the 2015-16 session allocation process, please refer to the MHNIP frequently asked questions and the MHNIP session allocations factsheet.

The Department of Human Services will provide organisations with quarterly updates of their session usage to ensure they operate within their 2015-16 allocation.

Organisations, in consultation with their mental health nurses, are responsible for managing services within their 2015-16 allocation.

Where organisations claim for sessions that are in excess of their 2015-16 allocation, these additional sessions will not be paid.

In 2015-16 the Department of Human Services will maintain a waiting list to manage the reallocation of sessions should these become available. In addition to the criteria outlined in the MHNIP guidelines for existing and new eligible organisations, the following criteria will also be applied to organisations on the waiting list:

  • ensuring continuity of care to existing patients
  • availability of MHNIP services in the local region, and
  • availability of program funding.
Where there is opportunity to reallocate sessions, priority will be given to organisations in areas with limited or no MHNIP services to improve the distribution of services across geographic locations.

For more information read the frequently asked questions, or call the Department of Human Services on 1800 222 032 (call charges may apply) between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday, Australian Central Standard Time.

Information about the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Programme


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