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Latest News

New Medicare items coming to support those affected by bushfires

People affected by bushfires can access mental health treatment without a referral or mental health treatment plan from 17 January.

You’ll be able to claim these items from 17 January 2020 to 31 December 2021.

If your patient needs support before 17 January, use existing mental health treatment items. Your patient will need to meet the current eligibility requirements, including GP referrals.

Patients who are eligible may be:

  • individuals or families who have been impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires
  • responders or emergency management employees or volunteers who worked during the 2019-20 bushfires.

Patients in rural and remote areas affected by bushfires can also get Medicare rebated counselling and psychological support through video telehealth services.

Patients can get up to 10 treatment services each year, between 1 January and 31 December. You can keep seeing them if they’ve used all 10 services, but they won’t get Medicare benefits.

The 10 services are available to patients with an existing mental health treatment plan (MHTP) under the Better Access to Mental Health initiative. They don’t affect their claiming limits under that plan.

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