Important funding changes to ATAPS

Dear Doctors,
I’m writing to inform you of changes to the Commonwealth funding for Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) and Mental Health Services Rural and Remote Access (MHSRRA) that may affect patients you have recently referred.

 

This funding will cease on 31st March 2017 and be replaced by alternative mental health funding models to be commissioned by the Primary Health Networks in North metro, South metro and Country via the Western Australian Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA).

At this time the scope and detail of the new funding models have yet to be released however it has been communicated they will include telephone-based psychological therapy, care coordination for people with complex and persistent mental health issues and face to face stepped care intervention. Details in regard to alternative suicide prevention and children’s services have not been released.

While 360 will tender for all available funding, we cannot be certain of our role within the new models. For this reason, we will be clinically triaging all existing clients into a number of options to ensure they receive some level of mental health service delivery prior to the 31st. These include:
  • Single session group intervention
  • Single session individual intervention with follow-up and provision of e-resources
  • Solution-focussed Brief Therapy of 3-6 sessions
  • Telephone-based counselling
Currently, patients are not able to access ATAPS/MHSRRA funded services and Better Access services in the same calendar year. Therefore, commencing 1st January 2017, if clinical triage identifies your patient to have more complex needs the referral will be funded by Better Access (Medicare) and bulk billed if the patient holds a Health Care Card or is suffering financial hardship. Patients will receive up to 10 sessions of psychological intervention.

Suicide prevention clients receiving intervention via the ATAPS Suicide Prevention Program (8 weeks) or the ALIVE program (3 months) will continue to receive this service however unless suicide prevention funding options are known, 360 Health + Community will be limiting referrals to the ALIVE program from 1st January 2017 and cease accepting referrals for ATAPS Suicide Prevention Program from 31st January 2017.

Any waitlisted patients who have not received intervention by 31st March 2017 will be converted to a Better Access referral and the service will be funded by the Medicare system. If patients hold a Health Care Card or are experiencing financial hardship they will be bulk billed. Please note that Better Access only allows for provision of face to face psychological intervention, telephone-based counselling will not be available.

Please note these changes only affect these two programs and 360 Health + Community is still able to offer ongoing psychological intervention via Better Access (Medicare), NDIS, DVA, Workers Compensation, private health insurance and self-payment.

If you have any questions in regard to the above information please contact us on 1300 706 922
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Donna Lawrence
Executive Manager, Mental Health 
 
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