Last month, Health Minister Greg Hunt issued a press release offering improved psychological services in remote areas of Australia.
Under the current arrangement, rural clients can not access rebates under the Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) when accessing psychological services through teleconferencing methods such as Skype. Now, the new arrangement will mean that rural clients can receive rebates for 7 out of the current 10 sessions that the MHCP provides in a calendar year.
This is fantastic news for clients, as it reduces travel time and transportation costs for those who travel to larger country towns and metropolitan areas in order to access psychological services.
“We know a major barrier for people living in rural and remote Australia, needing mental health assistance is the ability to access psychological help…A telehealth approach to psychological services has the potential to enable farmers, and other regional people, to connect with clinicians, based anywhere in Australia, at almost any time” – National Farmers Federation Chief Executive Tony Mahar.
According to the Australian Psychology Workforce Survey (2008), psychologists in regional, rural and remote regions contributed to only one fifth of the total psychological services in Australia. Knowing that farmers have access to these services without leaving their properties means that we can help overcome the challenges of accessing care, as well as assist with challenging the stigma of mental health on the land.
“The rate of suicide in remote and very remote Australia is almost double the rate in major cities. The impact of suicide or attempted suicide is also far reaching, particularly in small close-knit communities where, for every member of the community, it can be a personal loss.” – National Rural Health Alliance Chief Executive Officer David Butt.
Those who can receive the Medicare rebates are required to be living in Modified Monash Model (our classification system used to determine geographical sizing of towns) regions four to seven, covering from small country towns to very remote locations of Australia.
The new arrangements will come into effect from November 1st 2017.
BodyMatters offer therapeutic Skype services for out of town and interstate clients. You can contact us on 02 9908 3833 to arrange an initial consultation.