Referrals guide for GPs
A guide to Mental Health Care Plan Referrals to the READ Clinic (Better Access to Mental Health program) for GPs.
Requirements for referrals
While there is no standard format prescribed by Services Australia/Medicare, in order to accept a GP referral practitioners at the READ Clinic require a signed and dated letter which includes the following information:
- Date of birth
- The patient’s symptoms or diagnosis
- The number of treatment services the patient needs to receive
- A statement about whether the patient has a GPMHTP, shared care plan or a psychiatrist assessment and management plan
If a referral is incomplete or invalid, our admin team will request the GP to provide clarification.
Medicare rebates can only be processed once we have received a copy of the patient’s MHTP.
Referrals can be emailed through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The initial MHTP referral allows for an initial course of treatment of 6 sessions. After the 6th session, the psychologist will provide a progress letter to the GP who will confirm the requirement for the treatment to continue for an additional 4 sessions.
The progress letter provided to GPs by psychologists will include all of the following:
- assessments carried out on the patient and, where relevant, the progress made
- treatments provided
- recommendations on future management of the patient’s disorder.
There is no standard format prescribed by Services Australia/Medicare for the progress report to GPs.
Referrals are valid for the number of services shown on the referral letter. Mental health referrals do not expire at the end of the year.
If your patient has unused services on referral at the end of the calendar year, they can use them the next year, up to a maximum of 10 sessions in any calendar year.
What happens after 10 sessions?
If your patient requires treatment beyond the 10 sessions for which they can claim a Medicare rebate under the Better Access initiative, they are able to continue to see their psychologist as a private paying client, but no Medicare rebate is available.