North Brisbane Psychologists now offers online counselling across Australia. Online Counselling, also known as “Telepsychology”, “Skype Counselling” or “Video Conferencing Psychology” is now available with a Medicare rebate for eligible Australians. If you are living in a rural or remote part of Australia and you have a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP, you can now access Medicare rebates for psychology sessions in your own home. This change was made in late 2017 in recognition of the scarcity of mental health professionals in rural and remote parts of Australia, coupled with the fact that demand for mental health services is growing in these areas. More people will be able to access needed treatment, and will be able to do so quicker, with greater choice of practitioner, and at less travel expense. There are some criteria for accessing Medicare rebates for remote therapy, as follows:
- Up to seven of the 10 annual Medicare sessions may be delivered by videoconference, but the remainder must be face-to-face
- One of the first four sessions must be face-to-face
- The psychologist must be a distance of at least 15 kilometres from the client
The requirement that four of the sessions take place face-to-face reflects the Government’s position that telepsychology is a useful adjunct to face-to-face therapy, but should not replace it. Face-to-face sessions are considered important for the development of the therapeutic relationship.
Medicare rebates are only available for sessions held with both a video and audio link, such as FaceTime or Skype, so telephone consultations are not eligible for a rebate under this scheme.
Am I in an eligible area?
Find out if you are living in an eligible geographical area by checking DoctorConnect or the Health Workforce Locator, entering your address and searching it. To gain the telehelath Medicare rebate, you need to be living in one of the MMM regions numbered 4 through 7.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like some help checking the eligibility of your residential area.
How do I video-call with my psychologist?
If you are eligible for a telehealth rebate, you will meet with your psychologist using videocalling programs such as Skype or Zoom or FaceTime. Many people are familiar with this technology and it is widely used. Your psychologist can advise you further. You can easily create a video link-up from your mobile phone, tablet or a PC, as long as you have a webcam set up.
Can I have a video-call session if I don’t live rurally or without a Mental Health Care Plan?
Yes, you can video-conference with your psychologist if you are not in a remote area, but you cannot claim the Medicare rebate for your session. You can come see us without a Mental Health Care Plan, but Medicare rebates won’t apply without one.