Medicare Advocacy Win- Better Access Group Therapy

Posted on 5 October 2022

AAPi has been advocating for more flexibility regarding Better Access group therapy items so these can be more effectively utilised. This advocacy work has led to AAPi having a seat on the Better Access Evaluation and being involved in the redesign of the program. We have received confirmation that from 1 November 2022 all Better Access group therapy items will apply to a service where only three patients attend if: 

• Four patients were due to attend and

• One of the patients is unable to attend.

The purpose of the above change is to support the policy intent behind this measure of encouraging the uptake of group therapy by helping practitioners overcome barriers related to group attrition, including due to fluctuating participant motivation and wellness or unforeseen circumstances preventing a participant attending on a given day. This change also seeks to give effect to the Productivity Commission’s recommendation in its Inquiry into Mental Health to allow group therapy with fewer than four people, as long as the course of group therapy began with at least four in the group. 

The changes to group therapy will be given effect through amendments to the Health Insurance (Allied Health Services) Determination 2014 on 1 November 2022 and updates to explanatory notes will be published on MBS Online closer to the commencement date. The impact of these MBS changes will be monitored closely to identify areas that can be refined and adjusted.