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Topic: Mental Health Care Plan

9 posts, 0 answered
  1. mattf
    mattf avatar
    1 posts
    23 November 2013

    Hello,

    I would like some advice on how I should approach my GP to ask for a mental health care plan. I feel so embarrassed to ask and even thinking about this is causing me anxiety.

    Thank you,

    Matt.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Dr Kim
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Dr Kim avatar
    479 posts
    15 January 2018
    Hi Matt,

    As a GP who has provided many Mental Health Care Plans (MHCPs) over the years, I want to say that from my perspective, it is not something that one should should be embarrassed asking for.

    There is absolutely NO shame in seeking help for your problems, and in fact I think most GPs would think that the patient is being brave and strong in seeking to see someone to trying work out some strategies or solutions. 

    I understand that sometimes it is scary to admit to yourself, never mind to someone else, that you feel you have a problem and that you need help with it … however I can almost guarantee you that the doctor will be happy to help you to find and settle into the right therapy.

    Lets just talk nitty gritty for a minute. Just so everyone knows how it works:
     
    So in order to see a psychologist, and be able to claim some of the cost from Medicare, you have to have a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) from a GP. This means booking an appointment ( make it a double or let the receptionist know you are coming in for a MHCP).

    You may have to answer a list of questions about your mental state and/or fill in some forms about your levels of depression /anxiety.

    This is all pretty standard but some may find it a bit daunting or wonder why they are being asked questions that may not seem to be directly relevant to them.

    Once the doctor writes up the plan and charges you the item number for the plan, Medicare “knows" you have one and you are now entitled to a rebate on 6 sessions with a psychologist of your choice who has registration with Medicare .

    Medicare doesn’t actually see the plan. Only you and your psychologist have access to it.

    After the first 6 sessions, if you are happy with the progress and you and your therapist feel it is appropriate to continue, you go back to your GP, who does a review and then you can access a further 4 sessions in that calendar year. 

    One can have 10 sessions per calendar year covered by Medicare rebates.

    Note that sometimes the first therapist you meet isn’t the right fit for you. In that case you can move to another one and use the remaining sessions that you have left for that calendar year with them . 

    It is a really important part of getting back on track - finding the right therapy with the right person … so don't be at all embarrassed to step forward and ask your GP to help you get into that place. Your mental health is absolutely the priority and doctors, in my experience, are genuinely happy for those that want to find somewhere to be their best selves. 
    6 people found this helpful
  3. Guest8901
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Guest8901 avatar
    1634 posts
    16 January 2018 in reply to mattf

    Hi Mattf, I'm glad you asked this question, as it is exactly the same way I've felt about approaching my GP for a mental health care plan. 

    Dr Kim, thanks so much for your detailed and informative response. It's very helpful and reassuring to know all that. I'll be seeing my GP this Thursday with the purpose of requesting a MHCP. It allays some of my anxiety about it by having a better idea of what's likely to be required and how the whole process works.

    Amanda

  4. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    13001 posts
    18 January 2018 in reply to Dr Kim
    hi Mattf, Dr. Kim has detailed the mental health plan, maybe your GP may ask you if you need it. Geoff.
  5. kittyklanke
    kittyklanke avatar
    3 posts
    30 January 2018 in reply to Dr Kim

    Thanks Dr Kim, I came here hoping to find out how any sessions are covered by Medicare, and you answered my question! thank you

    One can have 10 sessions per calendar year covered by Medicare rebates.

  6. Scruffy1
    Scruffy1 avatar
    32 posts
    10 May 2018 in reply to Dr Kim

    Can someone please clarify for me what is classed as a calendar year? To me it is from January 1 to December 31 is this correct?

    i am on my second MHCP the first 6 consisted of 2 sessions late 2017 and the other 4 from January 2018.

    From the second block I have already used 3 sessions this year (so 7 sessions so far from January and 9 all up including until the 2 before December last year)

    am I entitled to another 3 or only 1 more this year? I have the next 3 booked in already and can’t afford to pay for them if not covered

    and once they are used up can I get more from January next year or can I access any more in any way this year?

    sorry for so many questions but this is stressing me out.

    i will ask next time I go in but that is not for another 2 weeks.

    thank you

  7. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    13001 posts
    10 May 2018 in reply to Scruffy1

    Hi Scruffy, it is confusing however once you get MHCP referrals they are valid for 1 year from the date of the referral, so you are entitled to 6 sessions and then another 4 extra although I normally say to people that they have 10 sessions.

    Once the year starts 1/1/19 then you are entitled to another 10 more sessions.

    Hope that helps you.

    Geoff.

  8. Scruffy1
    Scruffy1 avatar
    32 posts
    10 May 2018 in reply to geoff

    Thanks Geoff

    i am still a bit confused

    as I have used two sessions last year and seven this year am I correct in assuming that I still have three more sessions to use this year?

  9. Allan533
    Allan533 avatar
    24 posts
    18 May 2018 in reply to Scruffy1
    Yep, that's right
    1 person found this helpful

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