New items for additional mental health support for people affected by COVID-19


New items from 7 August 2020

On 7 August 2020, 36 new temporary mental health treatment MBS items were introduced. These items provide 10 additional Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people affected by COVID-19.

The new items are available under the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS initiative (Better Access) from 7 August 2020 to 31 March 2021. The additional sessions will allow eligible patients to continue to receive mental health care from their GP, psychologist or other eligible allied health worker.

The 10 additional sessions are available to:

  • patients in areas with public health orders in place that restrict movement within the state or territory at any time from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 (eg lockdown or stay at home orders)
  • patients who are required to self-isolate or quarantine under public health orders for at least 14 days.

State and territory public health orders are listed on the Department of Health’s website and are regularly updated.

In order to access these sessions, patients will be required to:

  • have a Mental Health Treatment Plan
  • have used all of their 10 sessions in a calendar year
  • undertake a review of their plan with their GP after the tenth session.

There is no requirement for GPs and other medical practitioners in general practice to bulk bill these items for Commonwealth concession card holders, children under 16 years of age, and patients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. It is at the discretion of the doctor to determine the appropriate billing arrangement.

A fact sheet outlining the changes is available on MBS Online.

Descriptors and rebates for the six new items that support mental health care provided by GPs are listed below. There are both face-to-face and telehealth (video and phone) items available.

Item number

Descriptor

Rebate

93300

Professional attendance at consulting rooms by a general practitioner, for the purpose of providing focussed psychological strategies for assessed mental disorders if:

  1. the person is a person with a mental health disorder subject to COVID-19 public health orders; and
  2. the practitioner is registered with the Chief Executive Medicare as meeting the credentialing requirements for provision of this service; and
  3. the service lasts at least 30 minutes, but less than 40 minutes

$95.65

93303

Professional attendance at consulting rooms by a general practitioner, for the purpose of providing focussed psychological strategies for assessed mental disorders if:

  1. the person is a person with a mental health disorder subject to COVID-19 public health orders; and
  2. the practitioner is registered with the Chief Executive Medicare as meeting the credentialing requirements for provision of this service; and
  3. the service lasts at least 40 minutes

$136.85

93301

Telehealth attendance by a general practitioner, for the purpose of providing focussed psychological strategies for assessed mental disorders if:

  1. the person is a person with a mental health disorder subject to COVID-19 public health orders; and
  2. the practitioner is registered with the Chief Executive Medicare as meeting the credentialing requirements for provision of this service; and
  3. the service lasts at least 30 minutes, but less than 40 minutes

$95.65

93302

Phone attendance by a general practitioner, for the purpose of providing focussed psychological strategies for assessed mental disorders if:

  1. the person is a person with a mental health disorder subject to COVID-19 public health orders; and
  2. the practitioner is registered with the Chief Executive Medicare as meeting the credentialing requirements for provision of this service; and
  3. the service lasts at least 30 minutes, but less than 40 minutes

$95.65

93304

Telehealth attendance by a general practitioner, for the purpose of providing focussed psychological strategies for assessed mental disorders if:

  1. the person is a person with a mental health disorder subject to COVID-19 public health orders; and
  2. the practitioner is registered with the Chief Executive Medicare as meeting the credentialing requirements for provision of this service; and
  3. the service lasts at least 40 minutes

$136.85

93305

Phone attendance by a general practitioner, for the purpose of providing focussed psychological strategies for assessed mental disorders if:

  1. the person is a person with a mental health disorder subject to COVID-19 public health orders; and
  2. the practitioner is registered with the Chief Executive Medicare as meeting the credentialing requirements for provision of this service; and
  3. the service lasts at least 40 minutes

$136.85