Information regarding your attendance and regular session times, psychologist fees, how medicare gives rebates, checklist for a valid referral letter to psychologist, communication, appointment booking process, covid-19, cancellation and other policies.
Process for bookings with psychologist in Hawthorn : you can request an appointment with Bita by using the confidential request form. You can volunteer to obtain a formal referral after we have confirmed an appointment time.
Communication and inquiries
All electronic data and other will be handled according to the Australian government regulations, business Victoria and best practice guidelines for private practice psychologists in Australia.
I am unable to respond to text messages or discuss private and sensitive patient information using text or email due to privacy and confidentiality laws. The best and easiest way to reach me is to request a confidential appointment by using the secured appointment form, and say a few words about your problem or request.
I do not charge additional overheads such as costs usually associated with using a receptionist, which keep my consultation fees lower. This means that all communication is directly with myself, and inquiries are managed by following APS best practice guidelines (such as informed consent processes). It is expected that any inquiry, request or question regarding your treatment, appointment, or administrative matters are brought with you to your booked session time.
The mobile number on this website is for existing patients. All inquiries relating to a new or discharged patient must follow the process of filling out the secured intake form on this website.
General or admin inquiries. Psychologists in private practice do not get paid for additional work done outside of your allocated consultation time. So it is important to bring your question or issues regarding your administrative matters to your appointment. Other considerations are, all inquiries are taken seriously and may need to be given time to explore further. Therefore to ensure you get an accurate and appropriate response to your inquiry please inquire by completing the secure form. Please provide as much relevant detail as possible and I will inform you on the outset if you are required to pay a fee for taking action on your inquiry.
Fees are payable at the time of consultation in cash or by card (a processing surcharge applies) or you can pay by bank transfer prior to your appointment. You do not need a GP referral to see me. You do not need to be diagnosed to access psychological support. Please note that without a valid Medicare referral from a GP, Medicare does not give a rebate. However, most private health funds do give rebates. Patients claim rebates directly with Medicare or their health fund using the receipts that I issue weekly.
Medicare does not cover the full cost of psychologist fees in private practice for mental health treatment. I have a fee schedule and I advise of the relevant fees when we confirm your booking. A rebate means that if your mental health issue meets the Medicare criteria, Medicare may pay for a portion of your treatment fees for a limited number of consults (for example Medicare does not pay for couple therapy). In order to be eligible for these rebates you must obtain a valid referral letter AND a mental health care plan from your GP. I will review your referral letter in your consultation time. Please bring hard copies to your appointment. I will review your referral, care plan, reports or any other documents in your appointment time.
1. Medicare: obtain a mental health care plan
I am a Medicare provider for private psychology. Medicare rebates are optional and not everyone opts for Medicare which can require several visits to your GP. But Medicare rebates can reduce the cost and make treatments more cost effective. However, in terms of our work: my commitment is to your recovery / treatment, your well-being and safety and the clinical standards (such as risk management, relapse prevention). Therefore duration is not something that is decided by Medicare. Overall it is recommended that people consider their finances and planning for treatment in the long term. We will discuss your specific treatment needs during the consultations.
Seeing your GP and your treatment
If you want to use Medicare rebates, you must ask your GP to create a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) for you for a diagnosed mental health condition. This plan gives you up to 20 rebated treatment consultations with a psychologist (plans dated after 9.10.2020) which can reduce the cost of treatment. Previous to this date patients could only access up to 10 rebates. Medicare does not give the rebates in one go; you are required to obtain one referral and two re-referrals in one year (see point 2). Furthermore, Medicare does not get involved in treatment planning. We can discuss your questions as we learn more about your issues complexity, factors and needs.
2. Medicare: obtain a valid referral letter to psychologist
If you want to access Medicare rebates, then other than a mental health care plan, you also need to request a valid referral letter to psychologist from your GP (below). The psychologist referral letter must state a valid medicare diagnosis and the number of rebates (***Medicare rule*** initially a maximum of 6 rebates, a review by your GP, then 4 rebates, a review by your GP, and another 10 rebates if deemed eligible as of 9.10.2020). The medicare rebate amount and eligibility for various medical and clinical services are arbitrary, and set by medicare and not your psychologist. To be eligible it is best you ensure that your referral letter from your GP has the Medicare requirements (below). It is your own responsibility to book in for your next mental health care plan review with your GP for further psychology rebates.
Valid Medicare referral letter – checklist – According to the Department of Health website, a valid Medicare referral for psychology must include the following information:
- Date of referral + doctor’s signature
- Patient’s name – correct spelling as it appears on Medicare records
- Patient’s date of birth
- Patient’s residential address
- Presenting problem /current Medicare diagnosis
- Up to date list of medications
- Number of sessions referred (maximum 6 in the first referral, then a referral for 4, then a referral for 10 if eligible)
Clinical Supervision / Secondary Consultation
I offer clinical supervision / secondary consultation to clinical colleagues who work with patients in the mental health sector. Separate consultation fees plus GST applies for this type of consultation. Please enquire directly to discuss your specific supervision needs.
Private insurance rebate
If your private medical health fund covers psychology treatment, then you are eligible for private health rebates with me. You need to check this with your private insurer and let me know so that I can give the right receipts to you.
Attendance and cancellation policy
All psychologists in private practice set their own fees and have a cancellation policy to facilitate the operation of their clinical services and are in accordance with Business Victoria and APS guidelines. Patients are usually given a regular session time. A regular time means there is an expectation that patients take responsibility for their attendance every week by blocking that time in their diaries for treatment. Absence from treatment is best discussed within your consultation time to minimise treatment disruptions, and to ensure relevant discussion and planning can occur. Appointments are in high demand. If you plan on taking leave, give as much notice as possible. Furthermore, late or short-notice cancellations may mean that the time cannot be given to someone else.
Furthermore, it is expected that all patients accept a responsibility to attend sessions on time, reschedule or cancel within the cancellation time-frames (minimum 48 hrs Mon-Thurs 4:59 pm; changes to a Monday appointment must occur before Thursday 4:59 pm), OR pay the cancellation fee. This policy applies for any type of cancellation (e.g., not presenting, forgetting, being sick, clashing with some other commitment). The late cancellation fee is the full fee of the consultation time.
Your psychologist has been vaccinated with both doses of the covid-19 vaccine, and up-to-date with the flu shot. It is a general health department advice for people to participate in the state-wide vaccination process currently undergoing in Victoria.
1. Covid-19 Telehealth consultations
It is crucial that if you have mild cold or flu symptoms, or you have doubt about whether you been to an exposure site, or may have potentially come into contact with someone with covid-19 symptoms you must get tested and follow quarantine advice. Please share the test result with your psychologist to ensure practice safety. You must not attend the practice with symptoms or if you are waiting on test results. In these instances (as above) a telehealth session is usually offered. Other arrangements may be made on a case by case basis with your psychologist depending on individual circumstances. Please let the psychologist know prior to your appointment time.
- Complete the telehealth consent form and checklist
2. Covid-19 self-assessment (if you are attending the clinic)
Please use the covid-19 self-assessment tool , and do not attend the practice if you have any of the following symptoms:
- dry cough
- aches and pains
- sore throat
- loss of taste or smell
3. General rules regarding all telehealth
If you are conducting a phone or zoom consultation standard consultation fees apply. You must find a private and quiet space to conduct your session, and please complete the tele-health consent form and checklist.
General rule and disclaimer: There are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account by your psychologist to conduct a telehealth session. Therefore, as a general rule, offering a telehealth consult is always at the discretion of the psychologist if deemed private, safe and clinically appropriate. Otherwise the cancellation fee policy applies. If you have an agreement with your psychologist to conduct a telehealth session then please read and complete the telehealth checklist and consent form prior to your appointment time.