Our Principal Counsellor, Sara is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker. Accredited Mental Health Social Workers can provide counselling sessions and group sessions for which you can claim a rebate under Medicare.
To qualify for a Medicare Rebates you will need to have a GP Mental Health Care Plan (under the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative)
Below are 5 key steps in order to be able to claim a rebate for sessions with Sara (Marie will soon be able to offer this too).
1. You will need to obtain from your GP (or a psychiatrist) a referral letter and a Mental Health Care Plan prior to attending for counselling. The Care Plan is a simple document outlining some very basic background information about you and stating issues you are wanting help with (for example anxiety symptoms, depression, etc).
This usually requires a longer than normal GP appointment, so when booking to see your GP, please ask for a longer appointment.
Your GP may suggest you go to see a particular social worker or psychologist but you are free to choose who you wish to see for sessions. The referral letter does not need to specify the name of the person you will be going to see and if a name is specified you are still free to see a different person if you choose to using the same referral letter.
2. You need to bring the referral letter and Care Plan when you attend for counselling.
3. If you have already had sessions with someone under your current Care Plan and referral you are free to change to a different Allied Health Provider if you wish and do not need a new referral to do so. You will only need a new GP referral if you have already had 6 sessions in that calendar year. A Care Plan remains current for a maximum of 2 years.
It is a good idea for you to retain a copy of the plan and referral.
4. After your first 6 sessions, we are required to provide a written report to your GP. Reports we provide are usually very short and give general feedback on progress – they would not normally contain any specific details of what you have been talking about in sessions, that information remains confidential. We are happy to discuss a draft of the report with you before sending it, if you wish.
5. You would then need to re-visit your GP for a new referral letter before you can claim a rebate for a further 4 sessions making the total of 10. We are then required to provide another short report to your GP.
The government has set a 10 session limit aiming for this to be able to sufficiently address a range of mental health issues. Whilst it depends on your particular issues, you are likely to benefit from 10 sessions (or less), and this may be sufficient to address your needs. You also have the option to seek a further 10 rebateable sessions in a subsequent calendar year if you want to.
You may feel you would like to continue with the therapy beyond 10 sessions to build on the gains you’ve made or to address the issues more deeply. We can provide longer-term therapy and would continue to see you for as long as you wanted and needed. This could be for an additional few weeks or months to build on the gains made in the first sessions, or engaging in longer-term psychotherapy.
Group Sessions: A GP Care Plan allows you to claim a Medicare Rebate for up to 10 group sessions in a calendar year. This is IN ADDITION to the 10 individual counselling sessions
You can choose to attend therapy sessions outside of the Medicare system (ie without a GP Care Plan). You do not need a referral to attend in this case – simply contact us to discuss making an appointment.