There are a variety of options that may be available to you depending on your present health cover situation including private health cover, public health cover and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Private Health Cover
Private health funds may offer various levels of cover in relation to counselling and mental health services. Depending on your level of private health cover you may be eligible for rebates on some of the services here at Laura's Place. We suggest you contact your private health insurance fund directly to enquire about your level of cover and access to benefits.
Public Health Cover
Over the last few years there have been several Medicare schemes established that enable people to access funding for a range of mental health services. Laura's Place is a registered Medicare service provider.
We provide speech therapy, occupational therapy, counselling and psychological services through a variety of Medicare rebated programs. If your child has a GP mental health treatment plan your family doctor may refer you for Medicare-subsidised sessions with our team here at Laura's Place.
Your child's eligibility for these support initiatives will be determined and coordinated by your family doctor or paediatrician.
Medicare funded incentive schemes currently include the following:
- Better Access to Mental Health
- Enhanced Primary Care Program (Chronic Disease Management Plan)
- Helping Children with Autism (FaHCSIA)
- Better Start for children with disabilities (FaHCSIA)
- Support for families with older children
Better Access to Mental Health
The Better Access program can be accessed via your GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician. You must be clinically diagnosed with a specific mental disorder (these include anxiety, depression, conduct disorders, sleep problems, ADHD etc).
The Better Access scheme entitles you to up to 10 session rebates. Initially, referrals are to an Allied Health Professionsal for 6 sessions, after which the health professional must write to the referrer, and you may receive another 4 sessions if required.
Laura's Place is registered as a mental health provider with Medicare and is eligible to participate in this program.
10 sessions are allocated per calendar year and the value of the rebate may vary. Contact us for more information on the rebates available via the Better Access program.
Enhanced Primary Care Program (Chronic Disease Management Plan)
The Enhanced Primary Care program can be accessed via your GP. The eligibility criteria specifies that you must have a chronic condition (i.e. your condition is likely to impact you for over 6 months), and there needs to be two health professionals involved in providing services. Your GP must co-ordinate the Care Plan and send out the appropriate referrals to the involved health professionals.
When using this program you can access up to 5 sessions in total for individual therapy rebated by Medicare for "Allied Health" per calendar year. (Please note this is 5 sessions in total, not 5 sessions for each health professional per year). The Health Professional providing the service must be registered with Medicare. Contact us for more information on the rebate amounts available via this program.
Helping Children with Autism
This package entitles children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to claim up to 4 sessions for assessment (until they reach 13 years of age) and up to 20 sessions for treatment (until they reach 15 years of age). In order to access this package you must first consult a paediatrician or psychiatrist (not your GP) so that the diagnosis can be registered with Medicare. This makes the child eligible for this assistance scheme.
Under the program guidelines, these consultations can only be used once within the lifetime of the child. The sessions can be spread across several years and can also be utilised across a range of health care professionals. It covers the diagnosis of Autism, Rett's Disorder and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. Contact us for more information on the rebate levels available via this program.
Laura's Place is an established and experienced provider for FaHCSIA (the Australian Government's Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs). FaHCSIA provides funding for early intervention services for children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
To be eligible for this funding package a child must be seen by an Autism advisor and deemed eligible to access the program prior to their sixth birthday. The funding package (as at Feb 2016) consists of $12,000 which can be used until the child's seventh birthday up to a maximum of $6,000 per financial year.
The Austism advisor for NSW is ASPECT and they can be contacted on 1300 978 611.
Better Start for children with disabilities
Children who are under 6 years of age and have been diagnosed with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Fragile X syndrome, or a moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment, including deafblindness, can be registered to access early intervention funding.
If a child is diagnosed with one of the listed disabilities they can be registered to access early intervention funding of up to $12,000 with a maximum limit of $6,000 per financial year.
This funding can be used to pay for early intervention services provided by health professionals who are members of the Better Start Early Intervention Service Provider Panel. This includes professionals such as speech pathologists, audiologists, occupational therapists and psychologists.
To be granted access to this package children are required to be seen by a paediatrician, or a relevant medical specialist. Relevant medical specialists include neurologists, ophthalmologists, otologists, an ENT, your GP or Australian Hearing.
Support for families with older children
A Medicare rebate item number for the development of a treatment and management plan is available for children up to the age of 13. Medicare items are also available for up to four allied health diagnostic services and for a total of up to 20 relevant allied health services per eligible child.
These new items are available for children up to the age of 15 provided the treatment and management plan is in place before the child reaches 13 years of age. To register your child for the Better Start initiative, please contact the Carers Australia RIS on 1800 242 636.
If you require further information about the Better Start initiative, please visit the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) at http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/betterstart
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new scheme designed to help improve disability services and provide greater control and decision making to Australians with disabilities.
Those people with disabilities and their families will be active participants in deciding what support, equipment and therapy services they require for all aspects of care. An eligible participant will meet with a support planner who will work together to identify what current and future supports you believe are most important.
An eligible participant is then funded to purchase services, aids and equipment from a variety of service providers that they choose with the assistance and guidance of the planner.
As a person's circumstances or condition changes, they will be able to apply to have their funded plan adjusted to meet current and ongoing needs.
Who can access the NDIS?
A person with a disability or anyone who requires early intervention from birth to 65 years of age who is an Australian citizen, resident or holder of certain classes of visa, and living in Australia. Currently you must reside in one of the launch sites to access the NDIS.
The NDIS commenced in the Hunter area on 1 July 2013. People with disability living in the 3 local government areas of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland can access the scheme gradually to enable a smooth transition from existing supports. The Central Coast region is scheduled for rollout commencing in July 2016. The full scheme will rollout across NSW between 2016 and 2018.
How do I access NDIS funding for myself, my child or a person whom I support that is eligible?
Firstly you and your child or the person you support meet with a "planner" from the National Disability Insurance Agency to confirm eligibility. From there the planner will discuss your goals, hopes and aspirations for the future which goes on to form a plan outlining the supports that will be required.
Laura's Place can work with you throughout your planning process and once you get your package.
What happens with my current supports?
No changes occur until after you have met with your planner from the NDIA and have received your plan and budget for support/services/equipment etc.
Please note for those children already receiving funding through FaHCSIA under the "Helping Children with Autism" and "Better Start" packages - once your NDIS plan has been approved, funding you may be receiving through those programs will cease and your child's supports will be funded through your NDIS package.
If we can help answer any questions you may have related to which options may be available to you - please give us a call on (02) 4385 5587 and one of our friendly staff should be able to assist you further.