Number and Duration of Sessions
There are no limits on the number of times you can visit a GP under Medicare and duration of sessions varies depending on the purpose of sessions. When a client first visits us we recommend that they see a GP first and this session is typically a minimum of 40 minutes duration.
Medicare imposes strict limits on the number of session available to see a psychologist. Unfortunately, this is limited to a maximum of 10 individual sessions per calendar year and 10 group sessions per calendar year. You will need to be reassessed by the GP after 6 sessions have been completed by the psychologist before the final four sessions can be approved for that calendar year. Please ensure that you do not exceed that number of sessions approved for you. We can only bulk bill for sessions approved by Medicare. Sessions are typically of 50 minutes duration.
Please enquire regarding the number of sessions available for other health professionals.
Services Covered by Medicare
Where possible Parkside Medical provides bulk billed services under Medicare for our GPs, psychiatrists and other health providers such as psychologists. Unfortunately not all services to a psychologist can be bulk billed. Medicare states that referrals to psychologist are for mental disorders, that is, conditions that impact on a person’s emotions, thoughts, social skills and decision-making. This includes people with mental disorders arising from:
- Psychotic disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Phobic disorders
- Anxiety disorder
- Adjustment disorder
- Sexual disorders
- Conduct disorders
- Bereavement disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Eating disorders
- Panic disorder
- Alcohol use disorders
- Drug use disorders
- Sleep problems
- Attention deficit disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Co-occurring anxiety and depression
This list is pretty comprehensive and covers, in our experience, most people but does not include a number of other important types of counselling. For example, it does not include relationship or marriage counselling. We believe that marriage counselling requires both partners present in the one session and for this reason sessions must be longer. For services not covered by Medicare please click on Other Services.
A Typical Session
With the GP: Your first step is with the GP who will assess not only your psychological functioning but how your physical health might be impacting upon your mental health. Your GP will need to rule out physical factors that could be impacting on your well-being. The GP might require blood tests. Our GP might prescribe medication in conjunction with referral to one of our psychologists. If you physical health is impacting upon your mental well-being then other specialist referral might also be required.
With the Psychologist: The first session is largely focused on assessing and understanding your problem or difficulty. From this assessment, treatment goals are formulated and you will be advised of how many sessions may be needed to help you with your problem. At the end of the first session, you may be given some homework or exercise to work on before your next session. The following sessions typically begin with a review of your homework and how you went. After this review, new material will focus on teaching you new skills and strategies for dealing with your problem more effectively. The skills will be based around changing your thinking, how you feel and what you are doing in problem situations so you can cope and perform more effectively in these situations.
For all face to face services payment is required prior to the beginning of the appointment at the reception desk. We accept all major credit cards and we are able to provide immediate Medicare Rebates. Please show your Medicare Card at the front desk on your first and subsequent visits. If you are unable to show a valid Medicare Card we will have to charge you for the full Medicare fee and then it will be up to you to claim the benefit back from Medicare.
All online services can be paid over the phone by credit card or online using BPAY.
Please note that we have a Cancellation Policy and all outstanding payments must be paid before accessing any other Parkside Medical services or to see any other practitioner.
- We are a private company and your file is stored in a secure cabinet which is alarmed after-hours.
- Only two people have access to your file: your health professional and the secretary who looks after your payment and appointments (there is a record of your appointments in your file).
- Your payment and address information is stored on computer but this is only accessible by password. No one (such as a partner) can ring up and ask to see your file unless they have your written permission.
- We would not even confirm that you are attending Parkside Medical without your approval to do so.
- We make every attempt to only use first names in the reception area.
- We do not leave files with names visible in the reception area where other clients may see them.
- We attempt to use encrypted software for online communications.
There are only three exceptions to this policy:
- If your session is being paid for by an insurance company (e.g., WorkCover Queensland), these companies typically expect reports of your assessments and progress. Under Medicare Australia requirements, we must also give feedback to your GP (including outcome measures) to ensure your continue to receive benefits.
- If there is a real chance of suicide or criminal activities harming other people have been committed, then we need to contact the appropriate authorities for your safety or that of others.
- If you are seeking civil damages for a personal injury, either physical or psychological, then your lawyer or others could sub-peona Care Mental Health Services. Under such circumstances we must provide a copy of your file to them, otherwise we will be in contempt of court and risk prison.
For more information on your rights and what you can expect from your psychologist, please download the Australian Psychological Society “Charter for Clients of Psychologists”.
For total confidentiality we can provide an anonymous internet counselling service using Skype or email anywhere in the world.
If you are unable to attend an appointment please provide 24 hours notice otherwise you will forfeit your membership to Parkside Medical and you will be unable to access any services at Parkside Medical. There is no exception to this policy.
If you wish to renew your membership to Parkside Medical this will be an additional cost of $99.
Unfortunately, when a patient does not turn up you are disadvantaging other patients who are waiting to see a health professional. Please only make an appointment if you really want help and are prepared to apply effort at making changes in your life. It is your responsibility to keep track of your appointments and confirm appointments where necessary. As a courtesy you will be sent sms reminders.
Sorry for being tough but this policy is due to:
- People not turning up, being unreliable, and taking advantage of the Medicare system (especially when bulk billed). Just because you don’t pay doesn’t mean there are no costs.
- We are a business. If we do not enforce it, then these costs have to be passed onto people who are reliable. We do not believe this is fair.
- It is no use arguing with the secretary to get your way. This is simply our policy!
We believe enhanced mental wellbeing requires clients taking responsibility for their own life situations, and this means being reliable, consistent, organised and applying effort into making even small changes in your life. We strongly believe in these values to make a difference in your life. We hope you do too.
Finally, if you disagree with this policy and our values, you are welcome to not attend this practice or find another professional who is more likely to work within your value system. You can choose!
All people who attend Parkside Medical are clients – never patients.
We believe in a partnership or collaborative process of working together to achieve your health outcomes.
We want you to take responsibility for your health, to ask questions and challenge us. We will certainly challenge you.
We encourage action, and to take steps, even if only small steps, to change. There is no change without action.
We may refuse to work with you if your primary purpose is not to improve your health and functioning in your life or we feel that you are using the medical system in some way. If you are seeing us to simply complete some paperwork for a third party (such as medical certificate, income protection, WorkCover, child safety, probation or the courts) additional costs may apply as these services can often not be bulk billed under Medicare. You medical professional will inform you whether other costs are applicable and appropriate.