19 April 2020 Update

 

Hello!

Another week, another change to Medicare guidelines. For those that missed our special newsletter yesterday, there is no longer a requirement to bulk bill. This is welcome news to AAPi, and we thank the Government for listening to the voices of our members and many stakeholders and assisting us to ensure mental health services can remain open during the COVID-19 crisis. You are able to set your own fees and negotiate with your clients based on their own specific situations. We know that our members are compassionate and are well able to determine who needs to be bulk billed, who needs a reduced fee and who can pay full fee. Remember that informed consent is essential when you are changing the way that you are billing. Please see yesterdays release from us here.


We will keep you informed of any further changes.


Private Health Claiming.

We have prepared the following document based on the information we have at hand about claiming for services provided to clients through their private health insurance. We thank Frances Mirabelli from the APS and Ben Harris from Private Healthcare Australia for their assistance in this matter. Note that this document is still missing information from 10 funds, their processes have slowed down somewhat due to COVID-19 and remote working. We will get this information to you as soon as it is available with a revised fact sheet.

Download the document here.


Free Resources

Psychology Referral Document

This form can be sent to referrers, such as GP's, to let them know the current options available, when considering a referral to psychologists.


Informed Financial Consent form

This form can be used when negotiating fees with your clients.


Free Training Options

We had so much information in our recent newsletter, there may be some information you have missed.  Attached here is a document put together by member Ceara Rickard, showcasing the free training that is available at the moment.  We thought this was important to share with members again as many are reporting that they are having financial stressors that would not enable them to do the training they had planned for this calendar year.


Coronavirus Book for Children

A great resource explaining COVID-19 to children.


Mindfulness Exercises by Russ Harris

Russ Harris has released a volume of mindfulness exercises for free download at the moment.  We thank Russ for his contribution to the mental health and well-being of our community. 


Grant Opportunity For NSW Business Affected by COVID-19

The NSW Government is providing financial support to ease the pressures on small business as a result of COVID-19.

If your small business or non-profit organisation has experienced a significant decline in revenue as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible for the small business support grant of up to $10,000.

Applications will be open until the 1 June, 2020.

Further information can be found here.


Cyber Security

In the workplace, people are often able to rely on their organisation’s cyber security to help keep them safe online. As we move to the home environment, we can’t always pay the same attention to the cyber security of our personal devices.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many people working from home for the first time. Working from home has specific cyber security risks, including targeted cybercrime. When compromised, unauthorised access to your stored information can have a devastating effect on your emotional, financial and working life. The Australian Cyber Security Centre has published an easy to follow guide which we thought was particularly relevant for our members to be aware of. 

The guide can be found here.


Member Concerns About Bark.com

We have received many member concerns regarding a business that is spamming them with unsolicited email requests to service referrals for counselling and psychological services. Some have received close to a hundred emails despite never signing up with the service.  

It appears that Bark.com has set itself up as a referral centre and after the first referral they expect payment from the provider in order to activate referrals. This is a concern, as is the level of information and the descriptions of the clients level of need that is sent out to counsellors and psychologists.  

At this point we are advising members to avoid using this service as it may be a breach of ethical code C.6.3 Psychologists do not receive any renumeration, or give any renumeration for referring clients to, or accepting referrals from, other professionals for professional services.  

We are looking into this matter further before making an official statement about the appropriateness of using this service. We have reached out to Bark.com and are awaiting their response.


JobKeeper 

Some key information on Jobkeeper

  • Applications for the JobKeeper payment opens April 20 via the ATO website.

  • Prior to submitting your application, please ensure your employees have completed the employee nomination process on the ATO website.

  • Further information for sole traders in expected to be available April 20.

  • You will need to apply by April 26 if you would like payment to start from the fortnight commencing 30 March.

  • The first payments are due to be released in the first week of May, via the ATO.

We encourage all members to visit the ATO website for the full and current details of how to apply and access these important payments. Please discuss your individual needs with your financial advisor.


The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has prepared a useful guide for employers. 

The guide can be accessed here.


 

Petition Update

Thank you to all that have signed our petition 'Increase Access to Essential Psychology Services - End Two-Tier Medicare'. We have close to 5,500 signatures at the time of writing. If you have yet to sign this, please do. It can be accessed here.

While small sections are out of date, such as the reference to requirement to bulk bill only, the essence of the petition remains, this is to increase access to psychologists and abolish the two tier Medicare system.

Please sign the petition here.