A Mental Health Care Plan is done collaboratively between a GP and their patient.
It involves assessing a person’s mental health conditions, discussing and formulating some “goals” for their mental health and then the arrangement of treatment for the mental health conditions. It allows the GP, psychologist and patient to be “on the same page” about the patient’s mental health needs and treatment.
Anyone can book an appointment with a psychologist without doing a Mental Health Care Plan, but then they’d need to pay privately for the psychologist appointments, which is usually around $200-$300 for an hour-long appointment. With a MHTP, Medicare will pay up to ~$120 per hour-long session with a psychologist, leaving only a “gap” fee for the client to pay. The amount that Medicare will pay for each consult depends on the type of psychologist that you’re seeing. The gap fee is variable depending on the psychology practice. You can find out how much the gap fee will cost each appointment by calling the psychology practice you would like to attend.
How many psychology sessions can I get with a MHTP?
Generally, you can receive 10 sessions in total per year. After 6 sessions, you will need to see your GP again for a “review”, where you can get a referral for the remaining sessions. If you need extra sessions with your psychologist, you can still see your psychologist for as many sessions as you need, but you would no longer receive the Medicare subsidisation for the sessions. If you aren’t able to afford this, please talk with your GP as there are some alternative options available (e.g., for therapy via the Primary Health Network or possible COVID-19-related Medicare funding for extra sessions).
What do I need to get a MHTP?
You need to see a GP to get a MHTP. You can do this by booking an appointment to see Dr Emily at Better Self Psychology or with your usual GP if you have one.
A MHTP generally takes about 30-40 minutes to complete. There are certain Medicare criteria that need to be met in order to do a MHTP. For example, the person needs to have a “mental health condition”, such as Depression or Anxiety Disorder. Generally, a “questionnaire” needs to be done, such as the “DASS-21” or “K10”, to identify the severity of your symptoms (and repeated at the time of a Review of MHTP).
There are Medicare rules as to how often a MHTP can be done. Once a MHTP is done (by any GP), the person is not eligible for another MHTP unless it is “clinically required” and it has been more than 12 months since the last MHTP. After 6 sessions with a psychologist, a “Review of MHTP” needs to be done (by a GP) in order to access further sessions with a psychologist.
For more information, please contact Better Self Psychology. We can talk you through the process and book an appointment if appropriate.