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Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / Worried about being unable to continue receiving treatment.

Topic: Worried about being unable to continue receiving treatment.

14 posts, 0 answered
  1. silicontrip
    silicontrip avatar
    20 posts
    27 July 2018

    I'm currently seeing a Psychologist and a GP for my medication. I've used up all my mental health plan visits, so my psychologist costs have doubled. My GP was bulk billing but is now also charging for visits, who I have to see for a script every 4 weeks.

    The medication my GP has put me on has made vast improvements to my day to day life.

    Now I'm not sure about how much I can discuss about my medication, my GP has mentioned something regarding it that is now causing me to worry about being able to continue receiving treatment. His solution was that I need to see a psychiatrist but will cost about 4 times as much as my psychologist. From the sounds of things if I don't, I won't be able to continue with my medication, but these costs are starting to really blow out.

    Are there other options? Or people who know of not so expensive psychiatrists?

    sorry for the vagueness as I'm not sure what I can discuss here.

    Thanks

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Just Sara
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    Just Sara avatar
    3399 posts
    27 July 2018 in reply to silicontrip

    Hi Silicon;

    I don't have much time as I'm going out. So just wanted to say hello, welcome and ask you to call the Mental Health Crisis Hotline in your state and tell them you're desperate to find a bulk billing psychiatrist to authorise medication. Hopefully they can provide the name of someone in your local area.

    Even if you have to travel a ways, it's worth the trip as they'll write your GP a letter to authorise medication and provide a formal diagnosis. I'm sorry your GP doesn't bulk bill anymore as I know how precious this can be.

    I wish you well. Sorry I can't stay longer and write more. You take care ok. I'll probably be back tomorrow if you want to chat.

    Kind thoughts;

    Sez

    2 people found this helpful
  3. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2830 posts
    1 August 2018 in reply to silicontrip

    Hi silicontrip,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for being here.

    I'm sorry to hear your mental health care expired and your GP stopped bulk billing. It frustrates me that costs can be a huge factor to how much care we receive.

    There are a few options that I can think of -

    - Space out your appointments with your psychologist.

    Depending on what sort of therapy you are doing and what you are working through, there may be more practical or self-help related tools you can do during appointments; such as books, online courses, helplines or support groups.

    - Look for bulk billing psychiatrists.

    Here is a link https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/find-a-psychiatrist You can also search on google "bulk billing" psychiatrist and (your location) to see what pops up. There are a few that do telehealth just incase your location makes it difficult.

    - Ask your GP about further funding. I found this thread not long ago; I'm not sure how accurate it is but it could be worth a try

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/treatments-health-professionals-and-therapies/run-out-of-subsidised-sessions-from-my-mhp-any-other-options-

    - Switch your GP. Depending on where your GP works all of your notes will be in the system so you won't need to relay what you've told your GP - and you may find there's another GP at the same practice that does bulk bill.

    - Talk to your psychologist about it. Sometimes psychologists can either recommend others or lower their fee for financial hardship.

    I hope this helps!

    Sidenote: what you've said in your post is fine but it is not appropriate to discuss names/places/specific medications.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. silicontrip
    silicontrip avatar
    20 posts
    20 August 2018 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    There is only 1 GP at the practice I'm going to and my medication is quite restricted one thing I cannot do is change GPs and continue to have it prescribed. My GP has to make a phone call every time they prescribe it and I can only get 25 days maximum. It is quite frustrating needing such frequent GP visits. My GP has mentioned that it's unusual that I've responded to this drug and that I've found the more conventional ones ineffective, to the point that they impair my ability to function. Would love to know why I respond this way.

    I've cut my psychologist visits down to once a month I am finding that it isn't regular enough, I feel like I need a once a day check in just to say how things are going or if something is troubling me at the time and then a longer session once a month to cover off some of the more important things during the month. I very frequently forget to write them down, or they seem less important in session. I even forgot to mention the need to see a psychiatrist in my last session.

    I did look into Better Help, but their costs seem more exorbitant, has anyone had experience with them?

    Thanks for your time.

  5. silicontrip
    silicontrip avatar
    20 posts
    27 August 2018 in reply to silicontrip

    ok this is now getting quite stressful. My doctors application for a permit has been rejected and I now have to see a psychiatrist in order to continue my medication. I couldn't seem to find any that bulk bill (not unless I have a health care card) So chose one close to home but when my doctor contacted her with a referral she said that she's not taking new patients.

    Now I'm just feeling overwhelmed with trying to find another.

    has anyone had similar difficulties with their medication?

  6. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2830 posts
    28 August 2018 in reply to silicontrip

    Hi silicontrip,

    Thanks for your post and I'm sorry that things are so frustrating for you. I can relate very much to what you're going through and I was kind of hoping someone else would jump on here and share their experiences -

    Just from reading your replies though, I'm still not understanding why you have to see the same GP. I am on a restricted medication too and they need to call each time for authority (I'm seeing a psychiatrist for this though). I'd be a little concerned if my GP or Psychiatrist said 'you can only see me to access this medication'. Have you talked to your GP about your concerns?

    There was a link I sent to you earlier about finding a psychiatrist here - https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/find-a-psychiatrist If it helps, you can tick a box about doing online consultations which will broaden your reach and help you find someone who bulk bills.

    Also yes, I had thought about better help, however from what I can see there's not an official guarantee of replies (i.e. within 24 hours) which I know has left people disappointed in the past. As well as converting the US cost to AUD which doesn't make things easier either.

  7. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
    3516 posts
    28 August 2018 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hello Silicontrip,

    The website RT suggested... Have you searched it? If not that would be an essential first step. In the advanced search you can select bulk billing or even search ones that have special interest in particular areas.

    I see a psychiatrist and take medication that my GP is not allowed to prescribe. This is because some medications (stimulants usually) are controlled drugs and need to be prescribed carefully. My meds (for ADHD, binge eating disorder and depression) are often abused.

    My psychiatrist is permitted to give me 5 months supply and also has an arrangement with an online pharmacy where I pay $75 per month rather than $100 if I went to my chemist. You need to assess if the cost of visiting a psychiatrist is truly as expensive as what you're currently paying.

    Also the psychiatry bills...

    The inital consults are expensive that can't be denied. We have had tp sacrific a lot to afford my treatment. However the initial part is the worst...

    I highly suggest making an appointment to see someone in Medicare asap. You need to ask if you are registered for the Medicare Saftey Net. It is usually automatic but worth being sure. Every time you pay the Psychiatrist this go towards your saftey net. As you get closer to the threshold (for me this is once I have spent about $2000) you begin to be reembursed more from Medicare.

    The saftey net resets on Jan 1st every year. So once you hit your threshold visiting a Psychiatrist is very affordable. For me about $15 a visit.

    Another massive benefit is that I don't need to see my GP except for a referral occasionally. My psychiatrist manages my mental health and medications and any tests required as he is a doctor with additional study in mental health. Some psychiatrists also provide therapy (mine does) so I don't pay for a psychologist. It is all care in one place and one bill.

    Medicare can talk you through how the saftey net works for you and you can check on mygov how much you have paid.

  8. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
    3516 posts
    28 August 2018 in reply to silicontrip

    My tip is find and contact psychiatrists around you and find one that is accepting new patients FIRST.

    Many don't advertise as they get endless phonecalls from non patients.You can do this by asking your GP to write down ALL psychiatrists within your area and their contacts. GPs have a directory of services.

    Or visit your local hospital or any health services and ask everyone. Ask anyone you know if they can recommend a psychiatrist. Often an appointment "appears" if the doctor has been asked (or begged) by an existing patient.

    Then you phone around. Ask family to help it is very stressful. We shouldn't have to do this but that was the only reason I'm alive today. My husband did this until he found someone.

    Then see your GP to write the referral to your psychiatrist of choice and fax it off to them. You can't book or hold an appointment without the referral first.

    I'm sorry it is so convoluted. Some days it makes me very angry that the footwork is left for the very people who are often too sick to do it. But you are worth investing in.

    Do you have friends or family who will help you with this?

    Sorry to overwhelm you. The services are there and I do want you to get the help you need.

    ❤Nat


  9. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8178 posts
    29 August 2018 in reply to silicontrip

    Hi silicontrip,

    I'm not sure that I have much to add to what Nat and Romantic Thief have already mentioned. I too would suggest you go to a different Dr and explain the situation. You can have your medical records transferred from one place to another.

    Can you go into the chemist and ask to talk to the pharmacist, they may be able to make some suggestions to you.

    The beyondblue website has a lot of information including a section on Who Can Assist and National helplines and Websites, you might find some suggestions there.

    I'm really sorry you are having such a horrid experience trying to get help. In a way I understand as I feel I have been messed up by the system as well. I now no longer take medication nor see any professional help as it has all been too difficult. Some days are horrid trying to cope on my own.

    I really do hope you are able to get the assistance that you need.

    If you really feel it is all too much, head to your local hospital and ask to see a psychiatrist there. Don't wait until you feel like exploding or ending it all.

    Cheers from Dools

    1 person found this helpful
  10. silicontrip
    silicontrip avatar
    20 posts
    29 August 2018

    Hi everyone, thanks for your replies, it's really encouraging me to keep trying.

    When I was researching my medication on TGA or some other government website, they say that one of the restrictions is that it can only be prescribed by one professional. Obviously not being able to mention what it is is making this part of the conversation difficult.

    I believe that my GP wants to transfer this permit to a psychiatrist, or that if it is shown I am receiving additional medical help that he can continue to receive permission to prescribe it.

    I used the yourhealthinmind site the advanced search says "bulk billing selected patients" I found a psychiatrist close to home, contacted them and got a standard response from the reception saying, you need a referral, go see your GP. Went through all that to get the response "we're not taking new patients" *i really want to swear at this point*

    I just spoke to another reception about making an appointment, it sounds like most psychiatrists are more interested in getting me off my medication and sounded like they wouldn't be interested in taking me in. Maybe that's why the first wouldn't take me. I can only hope that they do.

    I guess I should probably speak to someone about other medications, my GP says I'm a bit limited as many I've been on have made me feel worse, the one I'm on now seems to be targeted at medium term use and the only others like it are short term use. I'm feeling like a very odd case.

    Is there a talk to an expert?

  11. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2830 posts
    4 September 2018 in reply to silicontrip

    Hi silicontrip,

    Thanks for your post. I can see how incredibly frustrating this is for you, and now that you've explained it the permit makes sense.

    It sounds like you had a bad experience trying to see a new psychiatrist, although I doubt that it would be because they aren't interested in taking you on. It's all just policies and procedures even though it can be hard to not take it personally.

    My own advice is to try again - but this time, ask first if they are taking on new patients before going to the trouble of getting a referral. If there is none close to you, you may want to consider Skype/teleconferencing so that you're able to see one.

    Unfortunately there's not any options to talk to experts here. The only other resource I can suggest is 1800 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) which is run by the NPS (National Pharmaceutical Services). I'm not sure how helpful they'll be but they may have some more recommendations as to where to go from here.

  12. silicontrip
    silicontrip avatar
    20 posts
    6 September 2018 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    This is getting frustrating. I called first and spoke with reception, they seemed to be aware of my specific situation and said that there were a number of psychiatrists at the practice so one should be able to see me. I follow up with my GP. A few days later, I receive a call from my GP saying that they don't want to take me on as a new patient.

    I'm back to trying to find another psychiatrist and I thought choosing one would be hard. Just getting one to see me sounds like a challenge.

    Is this sort of situation common?

  13. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2830 posts
    12 September 2018 in reply to silicontrip

    Hi silicontrip,

    Unfortunately - yes. There are so so many battles that people face when accessing any kind of mental health services or care. Australia doesn't make it easy *grumble grumble*

    1 person found this helpful
  14. Tweet-Heart
    Tweet-Heart avatar
    74 posts
    28 September 2018 in reply to silicontrip

    Hi silicontrip

    Do you have private health insurance? if so this may cover psychology. I would ask your GP and psychologist to bulk-bill or reduce the fee.

    Another option is NDIS if you have a permanent disability you may get coverage for psychology under the counselling section - therapeutic supports this would require a successful application and inclusion in your plan.

    I am in a similar position but my GP and psychologist are both bulk billing and I am attempting to get counselling under therapeutic supports.

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