AAPi in the Media-Medicare and EAP

Posted on 15 March 2022

Medicare Advocacy

Yesterday AAPi was featured in The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age and the Brisbane Times covering AAPi's important advocacy reforms for Medicare.

The article mentions AAPi's call to review referrals requirements, raise the Medicare rebate to $150 a visit for all psychologists and double the maximum number of visits to 40 a year.

From the article:

“If someone’s in crisis, that creates some real barriers of accessing timely care,” Australian Association of Psychologists Inc (AAPi) executive director Tegan Carrison said.

“We would love people to be able to self-refer to a psychologist.”

"But APS wants people to be able to see a psychologist for an initial session or sessions before having to get a GP referral signed and for the maximum 20 sessions to be retained."

"AAPi wants to scrap the need for GP referrals, lift the Medicare rebate to $150 a visit for all psychologists and double the maximum number of visits to 40 a year."

"Both peak bodies say patients should not have to get their GP mental health plan renewed after six visits."

 AAPi was also featured on the ABC National News last night discussing Medicare. AAPi's Sahra O'Doherty spoke about the need for flexibility for self-referral to psychologists, the need to raise the Medicare rebate to $150 for the clients of all psychologists and how to tackle waiting lists by allowing provisional psychologists to provide services under Medicare.

The Australian 

AAPi was asked to provide comment to The Australian for a story about increasing concern from psychologists about requests for access to clients' confidential mental health reports.

These requests are coming from companies providing employee assistance programs (EAPs),  including the Australian Defence Force. The ADF routinely asks candidates for new jobs if they have undergone any EAP sessions within the past three years, and those who have done so are asked to sign over access to the EAP notes. 

AAPi, along with the peak industry body the Employee Assistance Programs Association of Australasia, expressed their concerns about the situation. 

While these requests are not in breach of privacy rules, the EAP said they represented “unusual conduct” and could potentially discourage clients from seeking help.

Executive Director Tegan Carrison said it's important that the client is provided with informed consent about the potential of providing access to their notes, and doesn't feel pressured to do so; and that the psychologist, in providing any notes, is comfortable they have met all their professional responsibilities.

University of Newcastle human resources associate professor Dr Robert-Leigh Compton said the ADF requests are “unacceptable”. “For Defence to try to use notes as part of a job interview undermines the pursuit of improved mental health professionals," he said.