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Category 8 - MISCELLANEOUS SERVICES
80170 - Additional Information
Focussed psychological strategies health service provided to a person as part of a group of 4 to 10 patients (but not as an admitted patient of a hospital) by an eligible social worker if:
(a) the person is referred by:
(i) a medical practitioner, either as part of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan, or as part of a psychiatrist assessment and management plan; or
(ii) a specialist or consultant physician specialising in the practice of his or her field of psychiatry; or
(iii) a specialist or consultant physician specialising in the practice of his or her field of paediatrics; and
(b) the service is provided in person; and
(c) the service is at least 60 minutes duration
Further information on the requirements for this item are available in the explanatory notes to this Category.
Fee: $24.55 Benefit: 85% = $20.90
(See para MN.7.4 of explanatory notes to this Category)
Category 8 - MISCELLANEOUS SERVICES
Provision of Group Focussed Psychological Strategies Services by Allied Health Providers
This note provides information on Group Focussed Psychological Strategies services delivered by allied health providers. It includes an overview of the items, patient and provider eligibility, what activities are involved in providing services rebated by these items, and additional claiming information.
For information on Individual Focussed Psychological Strategies services see MN.7.1.
The Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule initiative commenced on 1 November 2006. Under the Better Access initiative MBS items provide Medicare benefits for the following allied mental health services:
psychological therapy - provided by eligible clinical psychologists; and
focussed psychological strategies – allied mental health - provided by eligible psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers.
FOCUSSED PSYCHOLOGICAL STRATEGIES – ALLIED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ATTRACTING MEDICARE REBATES
Group focussed psychological strategies services
There are 18 MBS items for the provision of group focussed psychological strategies (FPS) - allied mental health services to eligible patients by allied health providers:
- 80120, 80122, 80127 for provision of FPS services by a psychologist;
- 80121, 80123, 80128 for provision of video conference FPS services to patients in telehealth eligible areas by a psychologist;
- 80145, 80147, 80152 for provision of FPS services by an occupational therapist;
- 80146, 80148, 80153 for provision of video conference FPS services to patients in telehealth eligible areas by an occupational therapist;
- 80170, 80172, 80174 for provision of FPS services by a social worker; and
- 80171, 80173, 80175 for provision of video conference FPS services to patients in telehealth eligible areas by a social worker.
Note, the allied health provider must be satisfied that it is clinically appropriate to provide a video consultation to a patient, and the patient must be in a telehealth eligible area (see ‘Telehealth eligible areas’ below).
In these notes, ‘GP’ means a medical practitioner, including a general practitioner, but not including a specialist or consultant physician.
Services provided under the group FPS items will not attract a Medicare rebate unless:
- a referral has been made by a GP or medical practitioner who is managing the patient under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan;
- a referral has been made by a medical practitioner (including a general practitioner, but not a specialist or consultant physician) who is managing the patient under a referred psychiatrist assessment and management plan; or
- a referral has been made by a psychiatrist or paediatrician from an eligible psychiatric or paediatric service.
The allied health provider must be in receipt of the referral at the first allied mental health consultation. The allied health provider must also retain the referral for 2 years (24 months) from the date the service was rendered.
Referrals from psychiatrists and paediatricians must be made from eligible Medicare services. For specialist psychiatrists and paediatricians these services include any of the specialist attendance items 104 through 109. For consultant physician psychiatrists the relevant eligible Medicare services cover any of the consultant psychiatrist items 293 through 370; while for consultant physician paediatricians the eligible services are consultant physician attendance items 110 through 133.
Referring practitioners are not required to use a specific form to refer patients for these services. A referral for mental health services should be in writing (signed and dated by the referring practitioner) and include:
- the patient’s name, date of birth and address;
- the patient’s symptoms or diagnosis and a statement on whether a mental health treatment plan has been prepared;
- a list of any current medications;
- the number of sessions the patient is being referred for;
- a statement about whether the patient has a mental health treatment plan or a psychiatrist assessment and management plan.
It may be useful for a referral to include a statement indicating whether group sessions could be considered. If a referral does not specify whether the referral is for individual or group therapy, the patient can use a referral to access either or both individual and group therapy treatment options. However, the patient should speak to their referring practitioner about their treatment needs and the type of treatment that might be suitable in their particular circumstances.
A referral should include all of the above details, to assist with any auditing undertaken by the Department of Health and Aged Care. Where appropriate, and with the patient’s agreement, the GP can also attach a copy of the mental health treatment plan to the referral.
Minimum number of patients
Group FPS services MBS items can be claimed for groups of four to 10 patients. However, allied health professions can claim these MBS items if four patients were due to attend and one patient is unable to attend, regardless of the reason.
Number of services per year
Medicare rebates are available for up to 10 group therapy services per calendar year. The services may consist of psychological therapy services delivered by clinical psychologists and/or focussed psychological strategies - allied mental health services. These group services are separate from the individual services and do not count towards the individual services per calendar year maximum associated with those items, see MN.7.1.
The referring practitioner can decide how many sessions the patient will receive, within the maximum session limit for the calendar year. If the referring practitioner does not specify the number of sessions on the referral, or specifies a number of sessions above the maximum allowed for the calendar year (including any sessions the patient has already received that year), the allied health provider can use their clinical judgement to provide services under the referral up to the maximum.
In the instance where a patient has received the maximum services available under the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule initiative per calendar year and is considered to clinically benefit from some additional services, the patient may be eligible for Primary Health Networks (PHNs) funded psychological therapies if they meet relevant eligibility criteria for the PHN commissioned services. It is recommended that providers refer to their PHN for further guidance.
Service length and type
Services provided by eligible allied health providers under these items must be within the specified time period within the item descriptor.
These MBS items cannot be used to deliver family and couples therapy. A range of acceptable strategies has been approved for use by allied health providers utilising the FPS items. These are:
(including motivational interviewing)
2. Cognitive-behavioural therapy including:
· Behavioural interventions
- Behaviour modification
- Exposure techniques
- Activity scheduling
· Cognitive interventions
- Cognitive therapy
3. Relaxation strategies
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Controlled breathing
4. Skills training
- Problem solving skills and training
- Anger management
- Social skills training
- Communication training
- Stress management
- Parent management training
5. Interpersonal therapy (especially for depression)
6. Narrative therapy (for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people).
7. Eye-Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)
Allied health providers must keep contemporaneous notes of the consultation including documenting the date, time and people who attended. Only clinical details recorded at the time of attendance count towards the time of the consultation. Other notes or reports added at a later time are not included.
Use of Referrals across Different Calendar Years
If a patient has not used all their psychological therapy services and/or focussed psychological strategies services covered by a referral within the calendar year, it is not necessary to obtain a new referral for the "unused" services. However, any "unused" services received from 1 January in the following year under that referral will count as part of the total services for which the patient is eligible in that calendar year.
When patients have used all of their referred services they will need to obtain a new referral from the referring practitioner if they are eligible for further services.
It is not necessary to have a new GP Mental Health Treatment Plan and/or psychiatrist assessment and management plan prepared each calendar year in order to access a new referral(s) for group psychological therapy services and/or focussed psychological strategies services. Patients continue to be eligible for rebates for psychological therapy services and/or focussed psychological strategies services while they are being managed under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan and/or a psychiatrist assessment and management plan as long as the need for eligible services continues to be recommended in their plan.
Out-of-pocket expenses and Medicare safety net
Charges in excess of the Medicare benefit for these items are the responsibility of the patient. However, any out-of-pocket costs will count towards the Medicare safety net for that patient. The out‑of‑pocket costs for mental health services which are not Medicare eligible do not count towards the Medicare safety net.
Publicly funded services
FPS services items do not apply for services that are provided by any other Commonwealth or state funded services or provided to an admitted patient of a hospital. However, where an exemption under subsection 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 has been granted to an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service or state/territory clinic, the FPS services items apply for services that are provided by eligible allied health providers salaried by, or contracted to, the service as long as all requirements of the items are met, including registration with Services Australia. These services must be direct billed (that is, the Medicare rebate is accepted as full payment for services).
Group FPS items apply to people with an assessed mental disorder and where the patient is referred by a GP or medical practitioner who is managing the patient under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan or under a referred psychiatrist assessment and management plan; or from an eligible psychiatrist or paediatrician.
The conditions classified as mental disorders for the purposes of these services are informed by the World Health Organisation, 1996, Diagnostic and Management Guidelines for Mental Disorders in Primary Care: ICD-10 Chapter V Primary Care Version. For the purposes of these items, dementia, delirium, tobacco use disorder and mental retardation are not regarded as a mental disorder.
Telehealth eligible areas
Geographic eligibility for telehealth services funded under Medicare (in Groups M6 and M7) is determined according to the Modified Monash Model (MMM) classifications. Telehealth eligible areas are those areas that are within MMM classifications 4 to 7. Patients and providers are able to check their eligibility using the Modified Monash Model locator on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website (https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/health-workforce-locator).
There is a requirement for the patient and allied health provider to be located a minimum of 15 kilometres apart at the time of the consultation. Minimum distance between allied health provider and patient video consultations are measured by the most direct (ie least distance) route by road. The patient or allied health provider is not permitted to travel to an area outside the minimum 15 kilometres distance in order to claim a video consultation.
Checking patient eligibility for focussed psychological strategies – allied mental health services
If there is any doubt about a patient’s eligibility, Services Australia will be able to confirm whether a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan and/or a psychiatrist assessment and management plan is in place and claimed; or an eligible psychiatric or paediatric service has been claimed, as well as the number of group services already claimed by the patient during the calendar year.
Allied health providers can call Services Australia on 132 150 to check this information, while unsure patients can seek clarification by calling 132 011.
The patient will not be eligible if they have not been appropriately referred and a relevant Medicare service provided to them. If the referring service has not yet been claimed, Services Australia will not be aware of the patient’s eligibility. In this case the allied health provider should, with the patient’s permission, contact the referring practitioner to ensure the relevant service has been provided to the patient.
ALLIED HEALTH PROVIDER ELIGIBILITY
Eligible allied health provider
A person is an allied health provider in relation to the provision of a FPS service if the person meets one of the following requirements:
- the person is a psychologist who holds general registration in the health profession of psychology under the applicable law in force in the State or Territory in which the service is provided;
- the person is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and certified by AASW as the meeting the standards for mental health set out in the document published by AASW titled ‘Practice Standards for Mental Health Social Workers 2014’ as in force on 25 September 2014;
- the person is an occupational therapist who is registered as a person who may provide that kind of service under the applicable law in force in the State or Territory in which the service is provided; and is accredited by Occupational Therapy Australia as:
- having a minimum of two years experience in mental health; and
- having undertaken to observe the standards set out in the document published by Occupational Therapy Australia's 'Australian Competency Standards for Occupational Therapists in Mental Health' as in force on 1 November 2006.
Continuing professional development (CPD) for Occupational Therapists and Social Workers providing focussed psychological strategies (FPS) services
Occupational Therapists and Social Workers providing FPS services are required to have completed 10 hours FPS CPD.
A CPD year for the purposes of these items is from 1 July to 30 June annually.
Part-time allied health providers are required to have 10 hours of FPS related CPD, the same as full-time allied health providers.
Occupational Therapists and Social Workers who are registered during the course of the CPD year, their obligation to undertake CPD will be on a pro-rata basis. The amount of units will be calculated from the 1st of the month immediately succeeding the month they obtained initial registration. The obligation will be one-twelfth of the yearly requirement for each month.
CPD activities must be relevant to delivering FPS services. Acceptable CPD activities where the content is related to FPS can include formal postgraduate education, workshops, seminars, lectures, journal reading, writing papers, receipt of supervision and peer consultation, and online training.
There is flexibility in the CPD activities that can be undertaken to meet individual professional needs and their practice/client base and client needs. For example, activities could also include assessment and treatment of specific disorders and client types such as youth, or different modalities and delivery such as working with groups.
Registering with the Services Australia
Advice about registering with the Services Australia to provide focussed psychological strategies - allied mental health services is available from the Services Australia provider enquiry line on 132 150.
For further information about Medicare Benefits Schedule items, please go to the Department of Health and Aged Care's website at www.health.gov.au/mbsonline.
For providers, further information is also available for providers from the Services Australia provider enquiry line on 132 150.
- Assist - Addition/Deletion of (Assist.)
- Amend - Amended Description
- Anaes - Anaesthetic Values Amended
- Emsn - EMSN Change
- Fee - Fee Amended
- Renum - Item Number Change (renumbered)
- New - New Item
- NewMin - New Item (previous Ministerial Determination)
- Qfe - QFE Change