With approximately one million Australians currently battling eating disorders (ED), the Australian Government’s commitment to helping more people access and afford the help they need with a dedicated Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) item number for eating disorder treatment has seen an outpouring of support from organisations, individuals and families of those affected.
Aside from the mental and physical impact of living with an eating disorder, one in three people are going into debt in pursuit of treatment, and one in four are delaying or discontinuing treatment due to the cost. With $110.7 million being invested in helping 30,000 Australians annually over the next four years, this Medicare funding aims to achieve both better treatment outcomes and raise the national percentage of those affected receiving treatment, which currently sits at 25%.
Psychologists and dietitians - what this means for you
Psychologists and dietitians can expect an increase in service demand and delivery from November 1st, 2019. Alongside encouraging more people to access ED treatment services without being discouraged by the cost, the number of Medicare-funded sessions will also increase four-fold.
Dietitians will be able to complete up to 20 patient sessions for those eligible under the MBS, increasing from the current five-session allowance under the chronic disease management plan. Psychologists will be allocated up to 40 sessions, an increase from just ten under the current mental health treatment plan. Psychologists can also be involved in the initial diagnosis, alongside a GP or paediatrician, to confirm eligibility to receive this support.
With these significant positive change for Australians already in swing, now is the time that psychology and dietetic clinics should be ensuring that their Medicare claiming and billing processes are streamlined, effective and easy for patients and admin staff alike. For more information on how to best prepare your clinic for increases in Medicare claim numbers, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Medicare update was originally published on the Medipass website.