I welcome referrals from general practitioners for patients with mental disorders who would benefit from focussed psychological strategies (FPS).
Patients who have a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP), or a Psychiatrist Assessment and Management Plan (PAMP) are eligible for Medicare benefits for up to ten sessions (or consultations) of FPS or psychological therapy in a calendar year (from 1 January to 31 December in any year).
A patient's MHTP can be completed by a referring GP, or by me.
The cap of ten sessions applies to the aggregate of sessions (or consultations) provided by all eligible mental health clinicians (GPs who provide FPS, Clinical Psychologists, General Psychologists, and Social Workers). For example, if in a calendar year, a patient sees a GP who provides FPS for five sessions, and a Psychologist for five sessions, all of the sessions are eligible for Medicare benefits. However, if the patient sees the GP for ten sessions, and the Psychologist for ten sessions, only the first ten sessions in time are eligible for Medicare benefits, and the subsequent sessions are not eligible for Medicare benefits.
Although GPs providing FPS are not required to report back to the referring GP, I will send progress reports to the referring GP, and I will contact the referring GP about significant issues with the patient's mental disorder or treatment.
The 'Better Access' initiative is the system of MHTPs, PAMPs, referrals, and up to 10 sessions per calendar year provided by mental health clinicians.
Under Medicare COVID-19 provisions, the cap on mental health consultations under the Better Access initiative has been increased to 20 per calendar year.
In 2018, I completed Level 2 Mental Health Skills Training (MHST) as stipulated by the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC).
Mental disorders and referrals
Mental disorders that are appropriate for referral and that are eligible for Medicare benefits include:
Mental disorders defined in ICD-10
Depression (major/minor; mild/moderate/severe)
Social anxiety disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Alcohol and/or Drug Use disorders
Borderline personality disorder (but dialectical behaviour therapy is not provided)
'Mental disorder' - not otherwise specified
Mental disorders that are not appropriate for referral include:
Any other severe mental disorder requiring the patient to be admitted to hospital
Mental disorders that are not eligible for Medicare benefits are:
Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS)
In addition to general counselling and support, I will provide one or more of the following therapies (FPS) as appropriate for the patient.
1. Psycho-education (including motivational interviewing)
2. Cognitive-behavioural therapy including:
· Behavioural interventions
- Behaviour modification
- Exposure techniques
- Activity scheduling
· Cognitive interventions
- Cognitive therapy
3. Relaxation strategies
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Controlled breathing
4. Skills training
- Problem solving skills and training
- Anger management
- Social skills training
- Communication training
- Stress management
- Parent management training
5. Interpersonal therapy
I am training in Eye-movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR), and I will provide this therapy once I am accredited.
For information about making an appointment, please contact St Kilda Medical Group.
All sessions (or consultations) are by telehealth (video).
A session (or consultation) runs for 45 minutes. An additional five minutes applies to all sessions (or consultations) for reviewing and writing medical notes. To enable appointments to run on time, sessions will end at or before 40 minutes, and issues that have not been addressed will be deferred to the next session (or consultation).
Please refer to 'How to attend a video consultation'.
For more information about video consultations, please click here.
For patients who are eligible for Medicare benefits for video consultations or in-person consultations, sessions (or consultations) will be bulk-billed, so there will be no out-of-pocket costs.
For patients who are not eligible for Medicare benefits for video consultations or in-person consultations, the fee for a session (or consultation) is $138.10. There is no Medicare rebate.
The Medicare item numbers are: 91819 (video), and 2725 (in-person)
The Medicare benefit is $138.10.
Please check Fees for information about eligibility for Medicare benefits for video consultations.
Please send comments about this webpage or about the psychological strategies described to St Kilda Medical Group.