On 6th October 2020, the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered the Federal Budget. This included an announcement of an additional 10 Medicare-funded psychology sessions per client per calendar year, until 30th June 2022. This represents a doubling of the maximum number of per-year MBS sessions from the previous maximum of 10.
ACPA has advocated for many years for increased Government support for mental health treatment. The research that we undertook in June and that so many ACPA members contributed to showed that the previous limit of 10 psychology sessions was inadequate for many clients.
This announcement represents the culmination of our long term and continued efforts in advocating for improved access to mental health support, which we will continue to undertake going forward.
Providing Services Under This Arrangement
We have put together some information for members on providing services under this arrangement below. The full factsheet from the Department of Health is available here.
The relevant item numbers to use are:
|Clinical Psychologist||F2F||30-50 mins||93330|
|Clinical Psychologist||Videoconference||30-50 mins||93331|
|Clinical Psychologist||Phone||30-50 mins||93332|
|Clinical Psychologist||F2F||50 mins +||93333|
|Clinical Psychologist||Videoconference||50 mins +||93334|
|Clinical Psychologist||Phone||50 mins +||93335|
|Psychologist||F2F||50 mins +||93353|
|Psychologist||Videoconference||50 mins +||93354|
|Psychologist||Phone||50 mins +||93355|
- For the initial 10 sessions of the calendar year, the patient would be seen under the regular F2F/Telehealth item numbers.
- Standard reporting and referral requirements must be followed for the first 10 sessions of the year i.e. a letter/report to the referring doctor after completion of the first block of referred sessions (usually 6 but possibly less if the referring doctor has referred for a specified number of sessions less than 6). A new referral must then have been received to provide the remaining 4 MBS sessions for the calendar year.
- Once the patient has had 10 MBS sessions under the regular item numbers, the psychologist must provide a letter/report to the referring doctor as per normal practice. If the patient is eligible for further sessions under these special COVID-19 arrangements, a new referral is required and the above special item numbers must then be used for the remaining 10 sessions for the year.
- The psychologist is then only required to provide a letter/report to the referring doctor after completion of the 10 sessions, or after the last session if the patient does not utilise all 10 sessions. No report/re-referral is required after session 16 for the year.
- Referrals for these special items can carry across to a new calendar year if not all the sessions under a referral are used in the year of the referral. Sessions used in the following year will count towards the maximum of 20 sessions for that new calendar year. Refer to the factsheet for more information about this particular point.
For details of the COVID-19 Better Access Psychology Services for Aged Care Residents initiative, please see this page.