New advice for mental health items
GPs will be asked to supply more information when making patient referrals to psychologists or psychiatrists under the mental health items.Unlike the previous schedule, the 2007 MBS states GPs should “specifically consider including both a statement identifying that a GP Mental Health Care Plan has been completed for the patient... and clearly identifying the specific number of sessions the patient is being referred for” when using item 2713.
It also asks the GP, where appropriate and with patient consent, to attach a copy of the care plan with the referral. The changes followed requests from GPs and allied health professionals for clarification of referral information, the health department said.
Dr David Monash, a rural GP with a special interest in mental health, said attaching the care plan would not be an issue.
But Dr Monash, from Sale, Victoria, said doctors would be unlikely to know when referring a patient how many sessions to request.
“Even if GPs did specify, it’s likely to be ignored... it’s something that is agreed between the psychologist or psychiatrist and the patient.”
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