Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program
The Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) is an initiative funded by the Department of Health and Aging and administered by Medicare. The MHNIP funds community-based general practices, private psychiatric practices and other appropriate organisations to engage credentialed Mental Health Nurses. These Mental Health Nurses work in collaboration with Psychiatrists and General Practitioners(GPs) to provide coordinated clinical care for people with severe and persistent Mental Illness in community.
How Can General Practices Access a Mental Health Nurse (MHN)?
Under the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program, General Practices can either directly employ a Mental Health Nurse or can access a Mental Health Nurse on a sessional basis through Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local.
What Services Can a Mental Health Nurse Provide?
Mental Health Nurses engaged under this initiative support GPs and Psychiatrists to manage patients with severe and persistent Mental Illness. They can tailor a suite of services to meet a patient’s needs including:
- Continuity of care
- Review and monitor a patient’s mental state
- Monitor and manage medication
- Collaborate with GPs on Mental Health Treatment Plans
- Provide information on physical healthcare
- Coordinate and integrate services from GPs, Psychiatrists and other agencies such as, Allied Mental Health Clinicians, Government Organisations and NGOs.
- Liaise with family and carers where appropriate
- Provide services in a range of settings, including home and community visits and phone contact.
- Problem solving, Motivational interviewing, Counselling or Psychotherapy depending on skill set.
- The minimum case load for the Mental Health Nurse is a minimum of two individual patients per 3.5 hr session. This gives greater flexibility to the practice in the ongoing care of patients with a severe and persistent Mental Illness as Mental Health Nurses can allow more time for a patient with complex needs than a busy surgery could normally accommodate.
- There is no Medicare limit to the number of times a patient can see the Mental Health Nurse.
- Mental Health Nurses provide flexible service delivery. Although services are usually provided in practice there is flexibility to provide support in other settings such as the patient’s home or via phone calls.
- The experience of Mental Health Nurses in the support of people with significant mental illness can reduce practice and GP workload in the care of these patients.