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Referrals Guide for GP's

Medicare and Referrals for Psychological Services under Better Access

Medicare Rebates

Psychologists registered with Medicare Australia are able to provide Medicare rebateable psychological services to eligible patients.

Under the Better Access Initiative, patients who have a Mental Health Care / Treatment Plan (MHC/TP) and a referral to a psychologist from their GP are eligible for rebates for up to 10 focused psychology sessions a calendar year through Medicare.

Eligible patients are those with an assessed Mental Disorder who a GP is managing under a GP Mental Health Care /Treatment Plan or under a referred psychiatrist assessment and management plan.

A calendar year starts on 01st January and ends on 31st December.

It is a mandatory requirement that the GP completes the MHC/TP with the patient and provides a valid referral to the psychologist. Psychologists do not need the MHC/TP unless the patient consents to its release. A MHC/TP on its own is not a valid referral.

Information about the Better Access Initiative can be found on this website.

Valid Referrals

A Mental Health Care / Treatment Plan (MHC/TP) is not a referral and alone is not sufficient for the psychologist to provide a service under the Better Access Initiative.

A valid referral contains:

  • date
  • patient’s name, date of birth, and address
  • diagnosis / problem
  • request for services
  • number of sessions
  • referring GP’s name, practice details, and Medicare Provider Number
  • GP’s signature
  • a statement about whether the patient has a GPMHC/TP, shared care plan or a psychiatrist assessment and management plan.

Download a copy of Zenith Humans Referral Form.

According to the Medicare Benefits Schedule, “The referral may be in the form of a letter, or note to an eligible allied health professional signed and dated by the referring practitioner. The allied health professional must be in receipt of the referral at the first consultation.”

Note: a referral is valid for the number of sessions identified on the referral and does not expire.

Number of Sessions

Each referral is valid for up to 6 sessions. The patient must see the GP for a re-referral to access the additional 4 sessions in that calendar year. A GP may choose to refer for 6 sessions (so the patient can use 4 in one calendar year and then the other 2 in the new calendar year).

After the first six sessions are used, the psychologist must write a letter to the GP requesting a new referral (if required). The patient must attend an appointment with their GP to facilitate this.

After all 10 sessions are completed, the psychologist must then write back to the GP.

Patients can continue psychology sessions paying the full-fee with no Medicare rebate. They may be able to obtain a rebate from their private health insurance.

Further Information

For further information from:

International Classification of Diseases 11th Revision

  • The ICD-11 can be accessed here