How and for what services can I claim Medicare rebates under a MHCP?
This article deals primarily with the Better Access to Mental Health Care Program (MHCP) Initiative ( Better Access).
Medicare rebates are available for psychological treatment by registered psychologists under the Australian Government's Better Access.
Provisionally registered psychologists are not eligible to provide services under this scheme.
Better Access provides considerable assistance to people living with mental health problems, allowing them greater access to psychologists and providing more affordable mental healthcare. Under the scheme, individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder can receive a rebate from Medicare for access to up to 20 individual and 10 group treatment sessions per year ( under certain conditions).
From 9 October 2020 until 30 June 2022, 10 additional individual psychological therapy sessions (Max. 20), are now available each calendar year to all eligible patients under the existing Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative.
Who is eligible for these additional services?
To be eligible, a patient must have:
- an approved treatment plan (either a Mental Health Treatment/Care Plan, shared care plan, psychiatrist assessment and management plan or approved written record) developed by their medical practitioner (GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician);
- used their initial 10 individual Better Access sessions before they seek a referral for additional sessions; and
- a referral from their reviewing practitioner (a referral is not required when the GP developing a Mental Health Treatment Plan also delivers the psychological therapy sessions).
Better Access at Quirky Kid
Some psychological services delivered by The Quirky Kid Clinic are eligible for rebates under Medicare Better Access. The Better Access initiative covers people with some types of mental disorders but not others.
To access mental health treatment under Medicare you must be referred by your GP, a psychiatrist or a paediatrician (referring medical practitioner). If a GP is the referring practitioner he or she will need to prepare a Medicare Health Care Plan ( MHCP) before referring you to a psychologist. You should book a longer session with your GP to enable time for this. Your child will need to be present during that session as they are the identifiable patient for the purposes of intervention at Quirky Kid.
Other requirements and Validity
The referring medical practitioner can initially refer you for a course of treatment up to ten (10) individual mental health services.
After an initial group of up to ten (10) sessions, the referring medical practitioner managing the identified patient (the child) will conduct a review based on the psychologist’s report. The review will determine if there is a need for further sessions and the referring medical practitioner may refer the client for up to a further ten (10) sessions (to a maximum of 20 psychological sessions per calendar year).
At the end of ten sessions, we are required to prepare a brief update report and send it to your GP. You then need to obtain a new referral stating the number of additional sessions (not necessarily a new MHCP) to access these additional ten (10) sessions.
An MHCP does not expire. A referral is valid until the referred number of sessions have been completed, regardless of whether a patient chooses to change their allied mental health provider.
Cost and Payment
Quirky Kid will charge you normally in accordance with our schedule of fees. The cost of a consultation is greater than the Medicare rebate. Quirky Kid does not Bulk Bill.
The typical rebate you will receive or consultation of 50+ minutes will range between $86.15 and $148.80.
If you comply with the requirements set by Medicare (eg provide us with a copy of a valid plan before your consultation), you will receive a tax invoice containing the relevant Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) number and additional details. Pay the full amount of the consultation and use your detailed receipt to claim a Medicare rebate from Medicare
Quirky Kid is not a bulk billing practice. You are required to pay the full amount of the consultation upfront.
Medicare requires that the identifiable patient is present for the full clinic session. At The Quirky Kid Clinic, the identifiable patient is your child. Because we sometimes meet with the patient's parent/s without the child present (for example, before the child's first appointment), this means these parent-only sessions are NOT eligible for Medicare rebates.
Furthermore, some services types are excluded under Medicare Guidelines under the scheme. Under these circumstances, we will not be able to include an MBS number in the tax invoice and consequently, you will not be able to claim a rebate. Excluded services include, but are not restricted to:
- Parent only sessions.
- Telephone consultations with parents.
- Teleconferences with other parties (e.g., teachers, doctors).
- Phone of Video/Skype consultations (after 31st March 2021)
- School observations.
- Assessments and psychometric tests.
- Some non-face-to-face services.
Private Insurance and Medicare Rebates
| Medicare benefits are not payable when the service is fully or partially funded under a Federal or State Government arrangement. Quirky Kid psychologists can still provide non-Medicare services to a patient under a GP referral.