“I recently received the APS “survey” supposedly addressing member opinions on the two-tier rebate system. “Supposedly”!
On beginning the survey I realised I couldn’t even get past Question i, Screen (see below) i of the items offered as a response to the question as to which factors the government ought consider in deciding on rebates (note the assumption there would need to be a “decision” rather than all registered psychologists simply automatically being entitled to a single rebate – like every other health profession).
My immediate reaction, after thinking that this is a “Have you stopped beating your wife?” scenario, was to wonder who would decide about “the complexity” of client presentations and how? One guess!
Who would determine the “competency of the psychologist delivering the services”? How would that be determined?
Like a GP? By virtue of the fact that AHPRA registration has been granted? Not likely, I’d assume. The old clinical faction would construe the answer as a “we’ll decide” and “competency” determinations would be via … clinical masters and clinical endorsement. Same old, same old under another rubric. The nexus of power wouldn’t change.
What would a “competency-based” system entail? Who’d structure it? Run it? Well, not difficult to imagine eh? The APS clinical faction – who would doubtless make it ridiculously over-kill like the supervision registration system I’ve helped some young psychs recently navigate after four years of intensive university study.
Likewise, “Psychologist’s years of experience in mental health”. How would “mental health” be defined? We ALL work in mental health. Oh …. might this imply that there could continue to be the assumption that because the current mental health system per se has been hijacked by the APS clinical faction, only those already “endorsed” could continue to be “acceptable” to the formal mental health system and others not? This would likely be extended to government agencies (eg Comcare, Centrelink) that have been hoodwinked into believing only psychologists who are endorsed as clinical could possibly service the public appropriately.
I refused the forced choice of ranking the five factors and only endorsed “client outcomes” (though, again, who’d measure, and how? Yup. The clinical faction.)
The survey refused to let me continue.The message came up in red text telling me the question had to be answered.
I didn’t know whether to be angry that the APS would try to “pull a swifty” on the members or incredulous that the clinical faction actually think this survey is in any way tapping member anger over the two-tier rebate rip-off, or be amused that a leopard doesn’t change its spots, even “the leopard” is a bunch of supposedly intelligent people, or simply bemused that a group of psychologists could develop such a blatantly biased survey.
On reflection, as a long- term APS member, I think I choose anger.
I let the APS know I was unable to complete the survey as I considered it was developed from biased assumptions and shepherding me to responses I would not endorse.
I’m angry the APS clinical faction is, in my view, actually scheming to preserve a patently inequitable and unjust system based on false and arrogant assumptions in this matter, rather than objectively canvassing member opinions.
The APS survey is obviously (poorly) designed by clinical psychologists, based on assumptions favourable to the clinical faction and will be interpreted by clinical psychologists, and will be promoted by clinical psychologists to yet again serve their interests to the detriment of the vast bulk of APS membership and Australian psychology overall.
Roll on RAPS!
Australian psychological post-graduate training diversity needs to be saved; the inequitable, unjust and unjustifiable two-tier system has to be abolished; and – highly important, I believe – psychologists really need to engage in industrial action to receive salary justice. I’m stunned most psychologists seem to work for such ridiculously low wages – and that there’s even a discriminatory two-tier hourly rate.
I’ve worked decades with teachers. Nice folk. Some clever folk. Many/most not too dramatically academically gifted. Four-year course, lower ATAR entry generally overall. Compare the salaries! I know two young psychologists (clinical psychs actually) who aren’t paid the customary $80 per hour for clinical psychs but who also aren’t paid the customary generalist $50 per hour rate. They’re on $30 per hour. Both are paid about $20k per annua less than a beginning teacher. In some places even bus drivers are paid more than psychologists. Bus driving is a useful, important job. They ought be paid well. But not more than psychologists. The young psychs I refer to earn about $20k less than a beginning bus driver. Psychologists deserve better. I hope this will be a future campaign for RAPS!
A SPILL IS THE ONLY HOPE!
The current Medicare Benefits Schedule specifies different rebate amounts for items delivered by psychologists and clinical psychologists. This is commonly referred to as the two-tier system. The APS is looking to review its policy on the two-tier system.
What factors do you consider important for the Federal Government to take into account when setting Medicare rebates for mental health services delivered by psychologists?
Please rank in order of importance (1 being most important and 5 being least important):
Complexity of client presentations
Formal qualification of the psychologist delivering services
Psychologist’s years of experience in mental health
Competency of the psychologist delivering services
Other factor(s) – please specify below:
Do you support a move towards a competency-based system where more psychologists are eligible for the higher rebate?