In 2011 and early 2012 the Australian Government announced several changes to the number of sessions of treatment that can be provided by psychologists under the Better Access initiative.

Standard allowable sessions capped at 10 from 1 November 2011

The number of sessions of psychological treatment a client could receive in a calendar year was cut from a maximum of 18 sessions in ‘exceptional circumstances’ to a maximum of 10 sessions, effective from 1 November 2011. The cap of 10 allowable sessions per calendar year also applies to group sessions delivered under the Better Access initiative.

Reinstatement of ‘exceptional circumstances’ sessions from 1 March 2012 until 31 December 2012

Early in 2012 the Government announced interim arrangements to reinstate the ‘exceptional circumstances’ sessions to enable a period of adaptation. The interim arrangements only apply for a transitional period from 1 March 2012 to 31 December 2012.

The maximum standard number of rebatable sessions per calendar year under the Better Access initiative remains at 10 sessions. However, during the transitional period, eligible clients where ‘exceptional circumstances’ apply can receive up to an additional six sessions to bring the maximum total number of allowable sessions in 2012 to 16 sessions.

An information sheet outlining the transitional arrangements for accessing the additional sessions under exceptional circumstances can be downloaded below. Members are particularly alerted to information on the eligibility and documentation requirements for the exceptional circumstances sessions. Included in the information sheet is clarification of Better Access referral and reporting requirements under various circumstances, based on recent advice received from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

An information sheet for clients on the recent changes to the number of allowable sessions under Better Access has also been prepared.

For general details on providing psychological services under the Better Access initiative,
click here