Membership details of the MBS Review Mental Health Reference Group have been published on the Department of Health website.
There are four clinical psychologists and one counselling psychologist. The rest of psychology, approximately 68%, is not represented.
The committee is chaired by a clinical psychologist from the APS College of Clinical Psychology.
The clinical psychologist, Leanne Clarke, who wrote the MBS Review submission on behalf of ACPA is on the committee. In the ACPA submission Leanne Clarke wrote:
“We support the Mental Health Commission’s (2014) recommendation for cashing out of MBS services provided by registered psychologists without accredited professional qualifications in mental health to fund psychological services on a salaried or, when necessary, sessional basis. This would enable greater quality control over service providers and service delivery and more equitable distribution of funding. Wherever possible, clinical psychologists need to fill these salaried or sessional positions. In addition to providing clinical assessment and therapy services, clinical psychologists can provide supervision to other providers to support quality outcomes, and to ensure that patients with more severe or complex presentations are appropriately referred when required. Oversight of generally registered psychologists through a Primary Health Networks (PHN) would be one possible scenario that reflects the need to oversee providers with reduced levels of mental health training.”
Lyn Littlefield is also on the committee.
Full details of committee membership can be viewed here.
Recently RAPS received a donation from a psychologist who was very angry as she had written a report for a client to apply for a Disability Support Pension with Centrelink. Her client had just informed her that Centrelink had refused to accept the report stating that it must be from a clinical psychologist. If this is a litmus barometer, and not just for Centrelink reports, RAPS expects to be rolling in money by year end.
What will the recommendations of the non-representative MBS Review Mental Health Reference Group be? Should we be shuddering already? If you want RAPS and others to do something about this situation then support groups who are prepared to represent you an act in your interests.
Submissions to the MBS Review remain open until COB on Monday 2nd July 2018. Email submissions to MBSReviews@health.gov.au.