From 17 January 2020, extra mental health services, including telehealth services, are available to people whose mental health is adversely affected by a bushfire that occurred in the 2019-20 financial year.
- The new services are provided by eligible psychologists, GPs and medical ractitioners, social workers and occupational therapists.
- The services are available to anyone whose mental health has been affected by the bushfire crisis, and are not restricted to people living in areas directly affected by bushfire.
What are the changes?
From 17 January 2020, two new item groups for mental health treatment items for anyone whose mental health has been affected by bushfire have been added to the MBS. The new groups are:
Group A39: 12 new items, including 4 telehealth items, for GPs and medical providers: MBS items 91721, 91723,
91725, 91727, 91729, 91731, 91283, 91285, 91286, 91287, 91371 and 91372
Group M17: 24 new items, including 8 telehealth items, for:
– Clinical psychologists: MBS items 91000, 91001, 91005, 91010, 91011 and 91015
– Eligible psychologists: MBS items 91100, 91101, 91105, 91110, 91111 and 91115
Medicare rebates are available for up to 10 individual mental health services in a calendar year. This quota may consist of any combinations of services. Patients are not required to have a diagnosed mental health condition, GP mental health treatment plan or referral
prior to requesting these services. They may also self-identify as being affected by bushfire and request a service.
Patients wishing to access the services via video conference are not required to have an existing relationship with the treating practitioner. In addition, no minimum distance requirement applies to these video conference services.
Mental health services received under the Bushfire Response do not count against a patient’s quota of services under the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative (for eligible Better Access patients).
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