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Managing mental health

Introduction to Better Access Medicare items

Under the Better Access initiative, Medicare rebates are available for GPs to provide early intervention, assessment, treatment and management of patients with mental disorders as part of a GP Mental Health Care Plan (Items 2700, 2701, 2715 and 2717).

Under these item numbers, GPs can refer patients for Medicare rebated psychological services to:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Clinical psychologists - registered with the Psychologists Registration Board in the state or territory in which they are practising. (Psychologists whose state/territory registration includes any limitation, eg. where marked 'provisional registration' are not eligible
  • GPs who are registered providers of Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS)
  • GPs who have completed the required training recognised by the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration and are registered with Medicare Australia
  • Social workers who are members of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), including certification by the AASW as meeting the standards for mental health set out in the AASW's 'Standards for Mental Health Social Workers 1999'
  • Occupational therapists with full or part-time membership of OT Australia, a minimum of two years of experience in mental health and an undertaking to abide by The Australian Competency Standards for Occupational Therapists in Mental Health.

A GP Mental Health Care consultation item (2713) is available for GPs to provide continuing management of patients with mental disorders. A Review of GP Mental Health Care Plan item is also available (2712).

There are also Medicare items which aim to support psychiatrists to see more new patients. Items 291 and 293 enable a GP to seek assessment and management advice from a psychiatrist. Under this item psychiatrists undertake a patient assessment and prepare or review, a management plan to be carried out by the referring GP.

For more information on the Better Access Medicare items please visit the Department of Health and Ageing website

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