Australian Association of Psychologists Inc

True Voice of Australian Psychology

News and Updates

Latest news and updates from AAPi

AAPi is expanding the services we offer to our members.

Please check back soon for more details.

 

AAPi wants to support and celebrate our members. Check back soon for some of the achievements and contributions our members are making to psychology and their communities.

AAPi supports the implementation of evidence-based practice and ensuring practitioners are adequality trained and qualified to deliver services. AAPi supports the increased number of sessions available to eligible patients. AAPi supports a multi-disciplinary team approach to patient care. What the AAPi does not support is the discrimination of registered psychologists that are providing the same service for less money. The AAPi does not support the restriction of service provision to such a vulnerable population based on this discriminatory pricing strategy and the reduced ability for eligible patients to see the psychologist of their choosing due to financial restrictions. There is no evidence that endorsed ‘clinical psychologists’ provide better outcomes or are better trained than registered psychologists to justify receiving approximately 30% higher fees from Medicare.  

The basics:

  • Starting 1 November, 2019 a group of 64 new Eating Disorder MBS items will commence. 
  • These include 16 new item numbers for Psychologists.
  • Sadly, the two-tier model has again been adapted with 8 separate item numbers for eligible ‘clinical psychologists’ and 8 item numbers for eligible registered psychologists. Clients of registered psychologists are set to receive approximately 30% less for providing the same service.
  • Up to 40 sessions in a 12-month period will be available for evidence-based eating disorder psychology treatment (EDPT). These 40 sessions can be claimed by suitable trained Registered Psychologists, ‘Clinical Psychologists’, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers, Accredited Mental Health Occupational Therapists or GP’s meeting Standards Collaboration requirements.  
  • The new item numbers are focused on anorexia nervosa or patients with severe presentations of other eating disorders including bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other specified feed and eating disorders (OSFED). Further information on patient eligibility criteria can be found in the more information section.
  • There will be a review of the group of items after 12 months of implementation.

Summary of item numbers

Item number

Detail

Who

Fee

82360

 

EDPT Service

Location: Consult rooms

Duration: 20-50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$71.80

 

82361

 

EDPT Service Video Conference

Duration: 20-50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$71.80

 

82362

 

EDPT Service

Location: other than consult rooms but not inpatient hospital

Duration: 20-50 mins

Registered Psychologist

$97.70

 

82363

 

EDPT Service

Location: Consult Rooms

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$101.35

 

82364

 

EDPT Service

Video Conference

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$101.35

82365

 

EDPT Service

Location: other than consult rooms but not inpatient hospital

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Registered Psychologist

$127.30

 

82366

 

EDPT Group of 6-10 patients

Location: in person

Duration: at least 60 mins

Registered Psychologist

$25.85

 

82367

 

EDPT Group of 6-10 patients

Location: Video Conference

Duration: at least 60 mins

Registered Psychologist

$25.85

82352

EDPT Service

Location: Consult rooms

Duration: 30-50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$101.35

 

82353

 

EDPT Service Video Conference

Duration: 30-50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$101.35

 

82354

 

EDPT Service

Location: other than consult rooms but not inpatient hospital

Duration: 30-50 mins

Clinical Psychologist

$126.65

 

82355

 

EDPT Service

Location: Consult Rooms

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$148.80

 

82356

 

EDPT Service

Video Conference

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$148.80

 

82357

 

EDPT Service

Location: Other than consult rooms but not inpatient hospital

Duration: at least 50 minutes

Clinical Psychologist

$174.10

 

82358

 

EDPT Group of 6-10 patients

Location: in person

Duration: at least 60 mins

Clinical Psychologist

$37.80

 

82359

 

EDPT Group of 6-10 patients

Location: Video Conference

Duration: at least 60 mins

Clinical Psychologist

$37.80

 

What is the approved evidence-based treatments and am I an eligible service provider?

The evidence-based treatments that have been approved are:

    • Family Based Treatment (FBT) for Eating Disorders
    • Adolescent Focused Therapy for Eating Disorders
    • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E)
    • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa (CBT-AN)
    • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder (CBT-BN or CBT-BED)
    • Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM) for Eating Disorders
    • Maudsley Model of Anorexia Treatment in Adults (MANTRA)
    • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder
    • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder
    • Focal Psychodynamic Therapy for Eating Disorders

The allied mental health provider must be recognised by the Department of Human Services (DHS) as eligible to provide focussed psychological strategies. For registered psychologists this as “The person is a psychologist who is registered without limitation as a person who may provide that kind of service under the applicable law in force in that State or Territory in which the service is provided”.

It is expected that professionals will have the relevant education and training to deliver these services and meet the national core competencies for the safe and effective identification, response and treatment of eating disorders. Ongoing professional development is required. 

Flow on effects to other areas of Mental Health funding:

If the discrimination between pay rates for registered psychologists for eating disorders is allowed to continue, this will no doubt also lead to the same discrimination for the upcoming Mental Health Medicare Taskforce Review due for release in the coming months. All those working in Mental Health, not just eating disorders, should be concerned.

What the AAPi is doing:

The AAPi has met with the head of the Mental Health and Eating Disorders Medicare Review Unit as well as the Health Minister and other influential parties to advocate for our members. 

The AAPi is currently doing everything possible to challenge and stop the pay disparity and discrimination. This includes:

  • Investigating all possible legal and other avenues
  • Employment of a lobbyist to further advocate and petition for our rights and the rights of our patients
  • Extensive media campaigns
  • Partnering with other organisations/associations to increase our reach and resources.

What you can do to ensure fair and equal pay for Psychologists:

  • Join AAPi today. Now is the time that we need as many members and voices as possible in order to make the biggest impact. This is time sensitive. We need to act now. If you are not a member, we need you to join today. www.aapi.org.au
  • Ask other psychologists to join AAPi- forward this on to all the psychologists you know. Students, provisional psychologists, retired psychologists, educators, researchers. Everyone.
  • Community stakeholders and other allied health professionals are welcome to join AAPi as community members.
  • If you are an AAPi member, please ensure you are paid up for 2019-2020.

More information:

MBS Online Eating Disorders Fact Sheets

MBS Book Category 8 (Full details- Eating Disorders M16)

Eating Disorders Working Group Report

Federal Register of Legislation Health Insurance (Allied Health Services) Amendment (Eating Disorders) Determination 2019

ANZAED Mental Health and Dietetic Clinical Practice and Training Standards for the Treatment of Eating Disorders 

National Practice Standards for Eating Disorders- National Eating Disorders Collaboration

In a recent online survey conducted by the Australian Association of Psychologists inc. (AAPi) 80% of respondents were opposed to the 2 tier Medicare system, and believed that equitable rebates should be available to clients of all registered Medicare providers. 

When asked about the new Psychology Board of Australia’s (PBA) intention to distinguish between “endorsed” and “non endorsed” psychologists 76.2% of respondents believed that this represented an erosion of their qualifications. 

“On 7th June the Association wrote to the PBA seeking clarification of the status of “endorsed” and “non endorsed” psychologists” Paul Stevenson, AAPi President said. “We particularly asked for details of the transition arrangements for non APS College practitioners, and if they will be “grandfathered” into “endorsed” status. Regrettably, in its first opportunity to display some leadership for the profession the PBA let down its constituents, and not only failed to respond to our inquiry but did not even pay the Association the courtesy of acknowledging receipt of our letter” 

In a stinging rebuke of the system that results in GP’s receiving more than 50% of the Better Access Scheme’s Medicare funding for referring patients to psychologists, 86.2% of respondents indicated that GP’s should be reimbursed for referrals under their consultations funding and not from the mental health funding. 

“This survey vindicates the position of AAPi in calling for the abolition of the 2 tier Medicare scheme, and for substantially more funding being made available on an equitable basis for the treatment of psychological conditions in the most vulnerable in our community” Paul Stevenson said. 

Further endorsement of the AAPi came in the form of 84.6% of respondents wanting AAPi to promote professional development training programs, and 76.2% wanting the Association to take on a social advocacy role. The majority of respondents wanting the Association to concentrate on social issues in general.  

Half of the respondents contributed comments on a variety of issues, many referring to the over prescribing of medication; however the majority of comments could be summarised by the following contribution:- 
“Work towards gaining the acknowledgement of relevant bodies (e.g., Medicare) that psychologists who do not have a 'clinical masters' have relevant experience, that the professional development they have completed over the years is relevant study, and that there is no evidence that the clinical masters programmes run by universities provide better skilled aspiring psychologists than other legitimate avenues. It could be that those with a 'clinical masters' are less competent at the completion of their masters than those who have taken the 4 + 2 route, currently we don't know. It is very doubtful that a recent clinical master's graduate is more competent than an experienced 'generalist' psychologist, whatever route they have taken to attain their registration.” 

Author Paul J Stevenson OAM, President AAPi
 

New Board Members to be announced soon.