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Referring to Vita Health Care
Referrals may be made out to a specific psychologist, psychiatrist or generically to Vita Health Care. We accept referrals and communication via Argus, fax, mail or email.
Referrals under Private Health Funds, Workers compensation, DVA or TAC accepted but please be advised are subject to clinicians case load
Fax referrals for psychiatrist triage to 03 9787 2906 or discuss your patient with Dr. Rege by arrangement
Fax MHTP or referral letter for psychiatry to 03 9787 2906 for review.
Item 2712 can also be used to review a 291 psychiatry assessment
What makes working with Vita a positive experience:
Psychiatrists and psychologists collaborate together to manage patient care, providing GPs with up to date correspondence.
We can provide services to adults, adolescents & couples.
Affiliation with Psych Scene - the leading mental health academic training organisation in Australia & NZ.
Direct liaison for GPs with consultant psychiatrist for advice.
Matching service to ensure clients are placed with most suitable clinician.
Paperless practice for efficient progress reporting. We utilise Argus to ensure secure, reliable electronic messaging.
Psychiatric services available in several languages.
Facilitating patient appointments is our top priority. We have several psychiatrists and psychologists to choose from, alleviating long waiting lists.
Our reception team are great to deal with, they will go above and beyond for both GPs and patients.
Our building is accessible to all and features on-site parking for patients and their relatives.
What can my patient expect?
A unique atmosphere and care model combining the warmth of a family practice with an outcome-driven cutting-edge approach.
Our mental health professionals are passionate about equipping your patient with the right tools to face the future – no matter how simple or complex their diagnosis.
What follow up and reports can I expect to receive about my patient’s treatment plan?
Vita Health Care use secure, simple, and reliable electronic messaging services as well as fax and postage options.
We believe strong relationships and a collaborative approach are important. We strive to offer clients comfort and continuity, and our referring partners responsive communication and succinct reporting.
Psychiatry – Following a 291 assessment GPs can expect a comprehensive plan for their referred patient.
For patients with ongoing care, GPs will be provided with up to date letters so that shared care can be provided to the patient.
Psychology– A patient update letter or review is provided to GP’s following their sixth session or at the completion of their treatment. Where necessary practitioners will provide GP’s with any relevant developments that may benefit the patient’s care.
When do I need to prepare a review for my patient for Psychology services?
Item 2712 is for an attendance by a GP to review a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan or to review a psychiatrist assessment and management plan. Recommended frequency is an initial review between four weeks and six months after the completion of the GP Mental Health Treatment Plan and, if required, a further review at least three months after the first review. Refer to the FACT SHEET FOR GENERAL PRACTITIONERS for further information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vita Health Care are happy to accept referrals under the Better Access initiative, WorkCover, TAC, Veterans Affairs and Victims of Crime.
I’m referring a patient to a psychiatrist
Patients can be referred to psychiatrists by GPs for either:
- ongoing care – which might involve transfer of care or a shared care arrangement
- an ‘opinion and report’ (MBS item 291) – where the GP continues to act as the primary health-care provider.
To refer a patient to a psychiatrist, a letter of referral is required. The letter of referral should contain (where possible):
- the reason for the referral
- the main issues (a summary of the problems, the perceived contributors and any safety concerns)
- medical history and the relevant medical and mental health treatment that has been provided
- whether the referral is for an opinion and report or ongoing management
- whether a psychologist has recommended the GP make the referral (include their specific concerns and contact details).
If you are concerned about the safety of a patient you have referred to a psychiatrist, you should speak directly to the psychiatrist (over the phone or in person) to tell them about your concerns. This will allow them to take steps to ensure patient safety. Letters are not recommended as a way to convey urgent information.
Mental Health Treatment Plans are not required for psychiatrists, only psychologists. For psychologists, a Mental Health Treatment plan is needed to access Medicare rebates.
If a patient has not significantly improved 6 months after referral to a psychologist, it may be appropriate to refer the patient to a psychiatrist for a second opinion. Inform both parties of the referral.
If you wish to refer an active patient of a psychiatrist to a psychologist, discuss the arrangement with the psychiatrist first.
Simultaneous referrals from a GP to both a psychiatrist (for both psychotherapy and medication) and psychologist (for psychotherapy) can create confusion about treatment. Consider the need for this carefully on a case-by-case basis.
When referring a patient to a psychiatrist, it is important that you discuss the reason for the referral with the patient. This is to ensure that the patient and the psychiatrist have the same expectations from the appointment, including rebates from Medicare.
Referring for psychiatrist Opinion and Report (MBS item 291): 5 key facts for GPs
Key facts about item 291
- The GP must state that the referral is for an opinion and report (or item 291) on the referral form
- An opinion and report can be completed in up to three appointments with the psychiatrist
- The psychiatrist will provide the GP with a detailed written report within 2 weeks of the appointment
- The psychiatrist can see the patient for treatment after the report has been provided to the GP
- A patient is only eligible for one Medicare rebate on the opinion and report in a 12-month period, but there is a rebate for a review
There is provision for the psychiatrist to review the opinion and report previously prepared by them, within the 12 month period (MBS item 293).
I’m referring a patient to a psychologist
When referring patients to a psychologist, GPs should provide similar information as per normal GP referral arrangements. The GP should consider including both a statement identifying that a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan has been completed for the patient (including, where appropriate and with the patient’s agreement, attaching a copy of the patient’s GP Mental Health Treatment Plan or psychiatrist assessment and management plan) and clearly identifying the specific number of sessions the patient is being referred for.
The referring practitioner must assess the patient’s need for further services up to a maximum of ten individual per calendar year.
Eligible patients can claim up to ten Medicare rebates for individual services provided by clinical psychologists, appropriately trained GPs or registered psychologists.
Following the initial course of treatment (a maximum of six services but may be less depending on the referral and the patient’s clinical need) GPs can refer patients for further sessions to a maximum of ten services per calendar year
Preparation of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan (Items 2700, 2701, 2715, and 2717)
Item 2700: for the preparation of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan by a GP who has not undertaken mental health skills training, lasting at least 20 minutes to less than 40 minutes.
Item 2701: for the preparation of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan by a GP who has not undertaken mental health skills training, lasting at least 40 minutes.
Item 2715: for the preparation of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan by a GP who has undertaken mental health skills training, lasting at least 20 minutes to less than 40 minutes.
Item 2717: for the preparation of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan by a GP who has undertaken mental health skills training, lasting at least 40 minutes.
Once an initial GP Mental Health Treatment Plan is in place, a new plan should not be prepared unless clinically required and generally not within 12 months of a previous plan.
Ongoing management can be provided through consultation and review services.
Review of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan (item 2712)
Item 2712 is for an attendance by a GP to review a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan or to review a psychiatrist assessment and management plan.
Recommended frequency is an initial review between four weeks and six months after the completion of the GP Mental Health Treatment Plan and, if required, a further review at least three months after the first review.
The Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team are responsible for assessing all persons who are being considered for hospital admission and determining whether or not a less restrictive setting is more suitable.
CATT services also provide treatment and support for people whose acute mental illness can be managed in the community as an alternative to hospitalisation.
If you have immediate concerns for a person’s safety, contact 000 or (Frankston/Mornington Peninsula catchment):
For referrals to Peninsula Health Mental Health Service
Frankston Hospital, Hastings Road, FRANKSTON 3199
1300 792 977 —18 years and over Triage 24 hours
9784 7095 — Aged Person’s Unit
1300 369 012 – Under 18 years Psychiatric Triage (24 hour)
Referral: Via triage service 1300 792 977
- Crisis Assessment and Treatment Service
- Aged Psychiatry Inpatient Unit and Community Team
- Adult Acute Inpatient Unit and Community Unit
Perinatal to Youth Mental Health Service (formerly CAMHS)
4th Floor, 454 Nepean Highway, FRANKSTON
Phone: 9784 9800
Fax: 9784 9801
24 Hour: 1300 369 012 (Psychiatric Triage)
Self-referral, or by doctor, school or agency.Care, counselling, assessment and treatment of people under 18 experiencing major emotional and psychiatric disorders.
Person must live in Frankston, Langwarrin, Seaford or the Peninsula, but not Pearcedale.
New MBS eating disorder items
From November 1, a suite of 64 new MBS items will be introduced to support a
model of best practice, evidence-based care for eating disorders.
People living with an eating disorder will be able to get a Medicare rebate for up to
40 psychological sessions and 20 dietetic sessions in a 12-month period.
Previously, people with eating disorders (and all other mental health disorders) have
had access to just 10 rebated psychological sessions.
At each10 psychological sessions a GP review is required, if recommended, the GP will refer for an
additional 10 sessions.
The item structure provides Medicare rebates for:
• the development and review of Eating Disorder treatment and management
• courses of evidence-based eating disorder psychological and dietetic
treatment services (for information on training in Vic see here)
• A review by a psychiatrist or paediatrician (please note to access 20 sessions a GP and Psychiatrist review is required)
For further resources for health professionals please download here
For information on MBS rebates for new item numbers please download here
For information specific to GPs and Medicare please see here
Mental health education and training for GPs
All GPs are able to access the GP Mental Health Treatment items. However, GPs who have not completed Mental Health Skills Training as accredited by the GPMHSC will not be able to access higher schedule fee items 2715 and 2717 to develop GP Mental Health Treatment Plans.
GPs who have not completed the training must develop Plans under items 2700 and 2701 with lower schedule fees.
GPs can contact the GPMHSC to discuss education and training options. The contact details for the GPMHSC are: Tel 03 8699 0554 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Psych Scene - Australia and New Zealand's leading mental health academic training organisation
Vita Health Care is affiliated with Psych Scene – the leading mental health academic training organisation in Australia & NZ. Psych Scene offers specialised training and professional development for Psychiatry Trainees, Psychiatrists, General Practitioners and Mental Health Practitioners.
PsychScene offers GPs one-day training masterclasses to enhances the General Practitioner’s ability to diagnose, treat and manage common presentations of mental disorders across the lifespan. Interactive and Effective with 40 CPD points on completion. The GP Mental Health Skills Masterclass is RACGP and ACRRM Accredited Mental Health Skills Training.
GP steps to a Psychiatry Referral
(1) Some private psychiatrists (PP’s) may not provide this. This is at the PP’s discretion.
(2) GP should specify if a psychologist is involved and include name, address and phone number.
(3) Item 291 allows for ongoing management by that PP, or another.
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Phone: (03) 5972 2444
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