We often find that there is confusion amongst clients and referrers alike as to what is the correct funding to access when seeing a psychologist when the client has a disability. The two main options are via an NDIS plan or through the Better Access to Mental Health initiative via a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP).
To determine the correct funding, you must understand the purpose and intent of the funding at hand.
The table below shows the core purpose, eligibility and issues targeted by NDIS and MHCP funding.
|NDIS||Better Access MHCP|
|Core Purpose||work towards increased functional independence and social participation||improve treatment and management of mental illness within the community.|
People registered with the NDIS aged 7-65;
Under 7 via Early Childhood Early Intervention program
|People who have had a GP develop a mental health care plan|
Permanent and significant disability
Psychosocial disability due to severe mental health conditions may qualify for NDIS
|Meet criteria for a diagnosis in chapter 5 of the ICD-10|
Daily living/Therapy supports
|Treatment of Mental health condition|
|Interventions||Must use evidence based interventions||Must use evidence based interventions|
|Intervention must target goals identified in participants NDIS plan||Intervention must target symptom reduction and goals identified with client|
Essentially the core difference between the two funding schemes is that is focus on capacity building and functional impairment whereas the other is focused on improving mental health specifically.
Can I use both NDIS and MHCP funds?
It may be possible to use both funding options (although not at the same time).
Co-morbid mental health conditions are common in people with disabilities and there is not a clear distinction between issues that are mental health and issues that are due to disability.
Some people may also develop a psychosocial disability due to severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
It is important to establish whether the primary presenting issue is due to the impact of disability or due to a mental health condition that is treatable.
For example anxiety occurs commonly in people with Autism Spectrum Disorders. But the anxiety is more often a result of the cognitive rigidity of Autism as opposed to a separate mental health condition. In this instance it is recommended that NDIS funds are used in the first instance.
In some cases an NDIS participant may have exhausted their funding allocation for the year and then chose to access a MHCP. This is only possible if the participant has a co-morbid mental health condition and will be addressing their mental health needs.
How can I tell which funding to use?
Your psychologist may need to conduct an assessment to determine which funding is best to use. This will be based on the goals for treatment and the presenting issues.
Psychologists are under strict guidelines from Medicare as to when they can provide Medicare rebates under a MHCP. If the psychologist breaks these guidelines they risk losing their provider number and not being able to practice psychology. They would also be required to pay back any money claimed from Medicare in error.
As such it is important that the eligibility is assessed and the correct funding is applied.
You are welcome to contact us at Prosper Health Collective to discuss your needs further and we will assist you to understand the best course of action.
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