The Australian Psychological Society (APS) is concerned over recent media articles suggesting the inclusion of psychologists under Medicare will leave patients significantly out of pocket. The APS expects that unlike those people with mental illness who visit psychiatrists, those treated by psychologists are extremely unlikely to bear an increased financial burden.
APS President Amanda Gordon explains that within the current system the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) item “Focused Psychological Strategies” is accessible by general practitioners who have been trained, usually by psychologists, for 20 hours. For this service, doctors receive $107.70 for sessions exceeding forty minutes.
Many psychologists, who have been trained for at least six years and are highly skilled at delivering focused psychological strategies, currently charge a similar fee for this service, “ says Gordon. “At this stage many APS members would accept the rebate as full payment, while others may add a co-payment of less than $20 per hour.”
“While financial matters are inextricably linked to proposed changes to Medicare, the most pressing issue is providing Australians with access to the most highly trained and experienced practitioners. The proposed inclusion of psychologists under Medicare would finally allow this to happen and this is great news for thousands across Australia who desperately need these services,” says Gordon.
APS President, Amanda Gordon and APS Executive Director, Professor Lyn Littlefield are available for interview. For more information contact:
Australian Psychological Society
03 8662 3363
0412 683 068