Medicare rebate for videoconferences with psychologists

The gap between city and country when it comes to psychological services is finally narrowing with the announcement that online videoconferencing consultations with psychologists will now receive the the Medicare rebate.

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) welcomed the Government’s recognition of the needs of people in rural and remote Australia.

APS President Anthony Cichello, said the move would provide greater equity of access to evidence-based psychological care for Australians living in small country towns around Australia.

“The number of people with mental health and behavioural problems, and high psychological distress is roughly the same regardless of where people live in Australia,” Mr Cichello said.

“But people living in rural and remote regions have far greater difficulty accessing effective psychological treatment than those living in cities.”

He said the delivery of services by telehealth - such as online videoconferencing, would bolster the existing psychology workforce in rural and remote Australia. 

“It will substantially assist the current workforce to meet the needs of people living outside urban regions, and attract more psychologists to work in regional Australia.”