Psychologists see a better way
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.