Contact & Location
Shed 1, 2B Holmes Street, Ballarat Central, VIC 3350
Contact number: 0404 303 814
To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.
~ William Blake
In the wake of the pandemic status that the COVID-19 has taken, the Australian government and Department of Health have made certain steps in order to slow down the spread of the virus. Mental health has been identified as one of the essential services. As per recommended by the government, we will therefore be transitioning to telehealth completely temporarily until the pandemic settles.
Telehealth can be delivered via telephone or secure video-conferencing which is a system similar to Skype and FaceTime but encrypted to protect client privacy. Telehealth has been studied and shown to be an effective method for delivering psychological treatment. For our sessions, we will be using Webex.
Please note that Medicare currently have restrictions on allowing rebates for telehealth items. These are restricted to clients with a Mental Health Care Plan, that are in a geographically isolated area (such as outside the Ballarat area between Ballarat and Horsham) or to clients eligible for the newly created Medicare COVID-19 items. Information on eligibility is provided below.
You can access a map to identify if you are in a geographically isolated area here - https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/health-workforce-locator/health-workforce-locator
You will need to select the Modified Monash Model (MMM) 2019 button and then enter your address. If you are in areas 4, 5, 6 or 7, then you are eligible for Medicare rebates for Telehealth items using a current Mental Health Care Plan.
The eligibility criteria for accessing the COVID-19 items is currently catered for vulnerable/ isolated persons where at least one of the following apply:
(a) the person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus but who is not a patient of a hospital; or
(b) the person has been required to isolate themselves in quarantine in accordance with home isolation guidance issued
by Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC); or
(c) the person is considered more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus being a person who is:
(i) at least 70 years old; or
(ii) at least 50 years old and is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent; or
(iii) is pregnant; or
(iv) is a parent of a child under 12 months; or
(v) is already under treatment for chronic health conditions or is immuno-compromised; or
(d) the person meets the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection.
Clients who are accessing psychological treatment under NDIS, DVA and Worksafe are all eligible for telehealth services. For clients who are funded by Worksafe, please seek permission from your case worker first.
Some private health insurers will cover you for telehealth services - please check with your insurer.
For existing clients who do not meet the above criteria, are not funded by any funding body and do not have access via their private health fund, you will not be left without a service! I will continue to provide telehealth services for existing clients who do not meet the current access requirements for Medicare rebates. I will be drastically reducing fees for these clients so that no one will be expected to pay more than they have previously had to pay. No-one will unnecessarily go without the support you need. This markedly reduced fee will stand until Medicare is able to provide provisions for all who require psychological support to access services equally, which Medicare is currently working hard to roll out.
If you are at all unhappy with the limited access to mental health supports via telehealth during this crisis, I request that you contact Medicare on 1800 132 468 or online at https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/contact-us/complaints-and-feedback. Alternatively, you can contact the Health Complaints Commissioner on 1300 582 113 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday or online at https://hcc.vic.gov.au/public/about-complaints and support change to allow all Australians to access Medicare rebated Telehealth services in this crisis.
If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms, please review and contact or call 1800 675 398.
In these uncertain times, I ask that you look after yourself and your loved ones.