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Better Access to Mental Health Care

19 Sep 2008 9:00 PM -

On 1st November 2006, GP Mental Health Care items became available on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). These items are improving access to mental health services provided by General Practitioners and were developed in consultation with GP organisations. The items provide a structured framework for GPs to undertake early intervention, assessment and management of patients with mental health issues, and provide referral pathways to clinical psychologists and other allied mental health service providers.

Under the scheme, GPs can assess patients and prepare a Mental Health Care Plan. If thought appropriate and necessary by the GP, this enables referral of patients to psychiatrists, and for psychological therapy by clinical psychologists or focussed psychological strategies (FPS) services by qualified GPs or allied mental health professionals. Patients who have a GP Mental Health Care Plan have access to certain mental health services under the MBS. Eligible patients can claim up to 12 Medicare rebates per calendar year (provided in one or more groups of up to six sessions) for individual services provided by clinical psychologists, appropriately trained GPs and/or other allied mental health professionals. Eligible patients can also claim up to 12 rebates per calendar year for group services provided by clinical psychologists and/or other allied mental health professionals.

GP Mental Health Care Plans would possibly be appropriate for patients who have depression, postnatal depression, anxiety and panic disorders and many other psychological disorders. These Mental Health Care Plans can also be used to access the services of mental health professionals for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders, depression, behavioural disorders and eating disorders. For more detailed information about what conditions qualify, please consult your local doctor.

Source: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/55A4ABFC9D0D0E9ACA2573D30016F339/$File/fact%20sheet.pdf