Information for GPs
GP Mental Health Treatment Plans
What is involved in a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan?
In order for a GP to refer a client for psychological services under the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative, the GP must first complete a detailed assessment and diagnosis of the client. The GP must then prepare the GP Mental Health Treatment Plan, which includes documenting results of the assessment, client’s needs, goals and actions, referrals and required treatment/services, and a review date. There is no particular form that is used for preparing the Mental Health Treatment Plan. Clients are encouraged to book a longer session with their GP if they are requesting a referral for psychological services, in order to enable the GP to complete the assessment and GP Mental Health Treatment Plan.
How often does a new GP Mental Health Treatment Plan have to be prepared?
Clients continue to be eligible for referred services while they continue to be managed by their GP under the relevant GP Mental Health Treatment Plan (through regular reviews by their GP). A new GP Mental Health Treatment Plan should not be prepared unless clinically required (there is a restriction of one GP Mental Health Treatment Plan per client in a 12-month period). Generally a new referral for further allied mental health services will be planned by the GP in a face-to-face consultation with the client. This could be as part of a review of the client’s Treatment Plan or as part of a normal consultation. In some instances the GP may consider that a separate consultation is not necessary (for example, having recently seen the client) and may consider that further allied mental health services are required based on their knowledge of the client and feedback from the treating provider. Decisions regarding referral for further services should be documented in the client’s record.
Does a client need a new GP Mental Health Treatment Plan to access further services in a subsequent calendar year?
Clients who are being managed by their GP under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan who need to access further referred services during a new calendar year do not need to have a new Treatment Plan prepared (unless required by the client’s clinical condition, needs or circumstances). A new referral for allied mental health services may be provided by the GP in the new calendar year where a client has used all previously referred services and the GP considers that the client requires additional allied mental health services (up to the calendar year entitlement of 10 sessions). As noted above, it is not necessary to prepare a new Treatment Plan just to make a new referral for services.
Changes to referrals – COVID related
The recent Medicare changes for referring patients for Psychology sessions have been confusing and unclear. The following information hopes to assist GP’s to provide a valid referral:
All referral letters must clearly specify the number of sessions for the referral e.g. 6, 4 or Extra 10 COVID19 sessions 11-20
Per calendar year under a MHCP referral, clients can access 10 sessions and the extra 10 COVID-19 sessions
Standard number of sessions usually follow 6+4+extra10 (this process only applies to new MHCP for 2021)
The referral letter must contain date, GP provider number and number of sessions referred
For clients mid-way through a referral in the calendar year change over the following applies:
If undertaking the first 10 sessions of MHCP at the end of 2020 e.g. referral for 6 or 4 sessions:
Psychologist continues with referral of standard sessions in 2021 and when due for review follow the below process.
Request GP for re-referral: The GP should refer for the “standard 10 sessions” e.g. a re-referral for 6 sessions
E.g. Client sees psychologist for 8 sessions in 2020 (6/6+2/4) then 2 sessions in 2021 to complete the 4 session referral.
GP re-referral letter should refer for standard 6 sessions>psychologist completes 6 sessions and writes to GP (2021 total 8/20 sessions completed)
Then review with GP referral for remaining “standard sessions” = 2 (10/20 sessions for 2021)
When 10 “standard session” have been completed in 2021
Psychologist then requests for additional 10 COVID19 sessions 11-20
If undertaking the COVID19 extra 10 sessions (11-20 sessions) at the end of 2020:
Psychologist should continue the additional 10 COVID-19 sessions at the beginning of the new calendar year 2021.
e.g., 2020 client completed 15/20 sessions (5/10 COVID19 sessions). In 2021 the additional COVID-19 sessions should be utilized first before then going back to the original (6+4) for the calendar year. Once these 10 are used, clients can utilise the remaining 5/10 COVID-19 sessions.
Please note a maximum of 20 sessions per calendar year per client.