Occupational therapists also assist adults who are experiencing psychological or emotional difficulties. They can help a person to develop better ways to deal with mental illness in the context of day-to-day activities, managing work and emotional problems. They work with other health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and doctors.
How can I access these services under Medicare?
Visit your GP who will assess whether you have a mental disorder and whether the preparation of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan is appropriate for you, given your health care needs and circumstances. If you are diagnosed as having a mental disorder, your GP may either prepare a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan, or refer you to a psychiatrist who may prepare a psychiatrist assessment and management plan. Alternatively, your GP may refer you to a psychiatrist or paediatrician who, once an assessment and diagnosis is in place, can directly refer you to allied mental health services. Whether a patient is eligible to access allied mental health services is essentially a matter for your treating health practitioner to determine, using their clinical judgement and taking into account both the eligibility criterion and the general guidance.
You can be referred for certain Medicare rebateable allied mental health services once you have:
- a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan in place or
- are being managed by a GP under a referred psychiatrist assessment and management plan or
- been referred by a psychiatrist or paediatrician.
Your GP or psychiatrist/paediatrician can refer you for up to six individual or six group allied mental health services, which may comprise either psychological assessment and therapy by a clinical psychologist or focussed psychological strategies by an allied mental health professional. It is at the clinical discretion of your referring practitioner as to the number of allied mental health services you will be referred for (to a maximum of six in any one referral).
Depending on your health care needs, following the initial course of treatment (a maximum of six services but may be less depending on your clinical need), you can return to your GP or psychiatrist/paediatrician and obtain a new referral to obtain an additional four sessions to a maximum of ten individual and ten group services per calendar year. Whether you have a clinical need to access the additional allied health services which attracts a rebate is a decision for your treating health practitioner, taking into account the written report received from the allied mental health professional at the completion of a course of treatment. At this time, a review of your GP Mental Health Treatment Plan may also be undertaken.