What is the new Medicare rebate?

On 1 November 2006, the Australian Government introduced new Medicare items for psychological treatment by registered psychologists. This service provides considerable assistance to people living with mental heath problems, allowing them greater access to psychologists and providing more affordable mental healthcare.

Under the new Medicare scheme, all registered psychologists who are endorsed by Medicare Australia can provide treatment for mental health problems. Medicare rebates are also available for consultations with specialist clinical psychologists, who are experts in the assessment and treatment of mental disorders.

New Medicare services promote a team approach to mental health care, with general practitioners, psychiatrists and paediatricians encouraged to work with psychologists, and other allied mental health professionals as well as mental health nurses, to increase the availability of care.

What is meant by mental disorder under the new Medicare rebate?

Mental disorder is a term used to describe a range of clinically diagnosable disorders that significantly impact on a person’s emotions, thoughts, social skills and decision-making. This includes patients with mental disorders arising from:

  • Psychotic disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Phobic disorders
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Adjustment disorder
  • Depression
  • Sexual disorders
  • Conduct disorders
  • Bereavement disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic disorder
  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Drug use disorders
  • Sleep problems
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Co-occurring anxiety and depression
Can I go directly to a psychologist to receive treatment through Medicare?

You must be referred by your GP, your psychiatrist or paediatrician. Your GP will need to complete a detailed mental health assessment and prepare a Mental Health Care Plan before referring you to a psychologist. You should book a longer session with your GP to enable time for this.