Psy­chol­o­gists see a bet­ter way

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

per cent of the 470,000 pro­vided by clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gists, were bulk-billed.

Lit­tle­field said dif­fer­ences in Medi­care re­bates paid to psy­chol­o­gists com­pared to doc­tors meant it was ‘‘ not fi­nan­cially vi­able’’ for psy­chol­o­gists to charge no more than the re­bate amount. ‘‘ The one thing that GPs and psy­chol­o­gists both do ex­actly the same is pro­vide fo­cused psy­cho­log­i­cal strate­gies,’’ she said. ‘‘ Psy­chol­o­gists get a re­bate of $76, whereas GPs get $117.55. For GPs who are do­ing ex­actly the same thing, ar­guably with far less train­ing than psy­chol­o­gists . . . the re­bate is over $40 higher.’’

Last week’s of­fi­cial fig­ures con­firmed pre­vi­ous data show­ing that the costs of the Bet­ter Ac­cess scheme are run­ning at dou­ble the orig­i­nal fore­cast. The Howard Gov­ern­ment set aside $49.8 mil­lion in 2006-07 and $92 mil­lion for 2007-08 for its plan to im­prove ac­cess to psy­chi­a­trists and psy­chol­o­gists through the Medi­care Ben­e­fits Sched­ule. But ben­e­fits paid out be­tween the pro­gram’s in­cep­tion on Novem­ber 1, 2006, and De­cem­ber 31 hit $278.1 mil­lion.

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