Better Access to Mental Health Care Initiative
Better access to Psychiatrists, Allied Mental Health Professionals and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (Better Access) program forms part of the Australian Government's National Action Plan on Mental Health 2006 - 2011.
These MBS items provide a structured framework for GPs to undertake early intervention, assessment and management of patients with a mental health disorder and provide referral pathways to psychological services.
Medicare rebates are available for GPs to provide:
1. Early intervention, assessment and management of patients with mental disorders, as part of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP): Item Numbers 2700, 2701, 2715 & 2717
Once a MHTP has been completed and claimed on Medicare a patient can be referred for psychological services to a Psychiatrist, GP or Allied Mental Health Professional for up to ten Medicare rebateable services per calendar year.
A listing of Townsville area Allied Mental Health Professionals registered with Medicare to provide Better Access to Mental Health Items is available: click here
A new MHTP only needs to be prepared when clinically required (generally not within 12 months of a previous plan) and is supported by continuing management through review and consultation services as set out below.
It should be noted that the patient's mental health treatment plan should be treated as a living document for updating as required. A MHTP can be updated at any time to incorporate relevant information, such as feedback or advice from other health professionals on the diagnosis or treatment of the patient.
2. GPs can also refer patients to a Psychiatrist for an Assessment and Management Plan (Item 291) and Review of a Management Plan (Item 293) or Initial Consultation (Item 296). Each of these item numbers can be utilised once per calendar year.
3. A review of the GP MHTP: Item number 2712. This enables a review of the patient’s progress against the goals of the MHTP.
4. A GP mental health Consultation Item number is also available: Item number 2713. This enables General Practitioners to provide continuing management of patients with Mental Illness
5. MBS Item numbers are also available for General Practitioners to provide Focussed Psychological Strategies: Item number 2721 (lasting at least 30 to less than 40 minutes) & Item number 2725 (lasting at least 40 minutes)
Quick Guide to Mental Health MBS Items
Changes usually occur in May and November annually. For the most up to date information please check the Medicare Online website or telephone Medicare on 132 150
Medicare Benefits Schedule:
Department of Health and Aging:
- Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psycologists and General Practitioners through the MBS
- Allied Mental Health Services under the Better Access Initiative: 2011 - 2012 Budget Measure
- New Medicare Items for GP Mental Health Treatment Plans: 2011 - 2012 Budget Measure
- GP Mental Health Treatment Medicare Items
Mental Health Skills Training (MHST)
For Item 2715 & 2717 (Preparation by a medical practitioner of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan for a patient) to be claimed the GP must have undertaken Mental Health Skills Training (MHST).
Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST)
Medicare rebates are also available for GPs to provide Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS) – Item numbers 2721 & 2725. Focussed psychological strategies are specific, time limited, mental health care management strategies, derived from evidence-based psychological therapies and are delivered in up to 10 planned sessions with a review after 6 sessions.
For these item numbers to be claimed the GP must be registered with Medicare Australia as having undertaken Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST).
Training is sometimes offered by Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local (TMML), however, other training is available online.
Contact RACGP or ACCRM or visit online: