Therapy 101: Mental Health Treatment Plan

When clients ask about psychological services, psychologists discuss topics such as support options under Medicare’s Better Access Scheme (Mental Health Treatment Plan). In these talks, clients have often presented with a mix of accurate and inaccurate information. To clear up confusion about the Better Access Scheme, here’s a list of frequently asked questions. This saves you from uncertainty and improves your understanding of how the scheme works.

What is the Better Access Scheme?

Medicare’s Better Access Scheme helps people access mental health services, easing symptoms impacting well-being. It also financially aids clients through rebates for psychologist treatment costs. A Mental Health Treatment Plan can be used for both face-to-face and telehealth sessions, meaning you can access services nationwide to support your mental health.

Can anyone get a mental health treatment plan?

The purpose of treatment plans is to aid individuals in the community who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder by their general practitioner (GP). The goal is to collaboratively work with a therapist to achieve treatment objectives and alleviate your symptoms that are adversely affecting your mental well-being.

How many sessions do you get?

If you’re entitled to a treatment plan, you are eligible to 10 individual and 10 group allied mental health services per calendar year.

I thought you could access 20 sessions a year?

Sadly, this is a thing of the past. During COVID, the Morrison government increased rebates to 20 sessions per year to support those struggling with their mental health. This was reviewed by the Albanese government in late 2022 and returned to the original system in January 2023.

We continue to hope that this will be reviewed and corrected in line with the mental health demands within the community and will keep you updated should this change.

Sessions are free, right?

This is one of the most common misconceptions I have heard during new client enquiries. A treatment plan does not entitle you to free sessions, but a rebate to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses per session. For a registered psychologist, the current rebate for the 2022-2023 financial year is $89.65 per session, and for a clinical psychologist, you receive $131.65 per session.

What happens when I’ve exhausted all my rebates for the year?

You can continue to see a psychologist despite exhausting your MHCP for the year. Clients who have private health insurance with coverage that includes mental health services can receive rebates from their provider.

What does the treatment plan entail from the psychologist?

Psychologists must follow Medicare’s rules, including providing progress reports to the client’s GP during treatment. This report is submitted after your sixth session, coinciding with your GP referral review. It includes important updates for the GP to review and support your treatment plan.

What if I don’t want you to liaise with my GP?

You are welcome to see a psychologist as a private client. However, this does mean that rebates can’t be claimed through Medicare. Should you have private health insurance, subject to your coverage, you could claim rebates through your provider.

What about when the time comes when I no longer meet the criteria for a treatment plan?

Continuing sessions without the out-of-pocket reduction can be financially stressful for clients. I prefer to reframe it positively, highlighting that reaching this point in treatment signals goal achievement. We can schedule check-ins as needed for relapse prevention or discuss ending treatment if that feels appropriate.

If you require additional information about a Mental Health Treatment Plan or have unanswered questions, feel free to get in touch with us. We will be happy to include your question in our frequently asked questions (FAQs) section to provide clarity and assist others who may have similar concerns.

Recent Posts