New holistic care plan for eating disorders treatment

23 October 2019  Features

Psychologists and dietitians with expertise in eating disorder treatment will be able to offer eligible clients significantly more sessions from 1 November, 2019.

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Eating Disorders Treatment Pathway is a major win for patients living with eating disorder/s.

It’s designed to support a model of best practice, evidence-based care for patients with anorexia nervosa and other eligible patients with eating disorders.

Access to more mental health care is very important for people living with an eating disorder because of the seriousness of the presentations and a high mortality rate, says clinical psychologist Dr Rebecca Mathews who is the Chief Publications and Professional Advisory Officer at the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

‘Having ongoing services across the year will offer the continuity of care from eating disorder services that haven’t been captured under Better Access before”, says Dr Mathews.

There is the potential for more sessions to prevent inpatient treatment which can take time to access, she says.

The new treatment pathway items will be available to eligible:

  • medical practitioners (including a GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician)

  • psychologists

  • occupational therapists

  • social workers

  • dietitians.

This new item structure means eligible patients will receive a Medicare rebate when eligible providers undertake the development of an eating disorder treatment and management plan or a review which will activate:

  • a course of evidence-based eating disorder psychological treatment services (up to a total of 40 psychological services in a 12-month period)

  • up to 20 dietetic services, in a 12-month period, depending on their treatment needs for:

 

Visit MBS Online for:

 

The role of MHPN practitioner networks
Mental Health Professionals’ Network (MHPN) supports 10 eating disorder practitioner networks around Australia.

Any network could hold a meeting about the MBS Eating Disorders Treatment Pathway which could be a great way to kick-start a new network or re-invigorate an existing network.

Specific-interest networks are already responding to the changes with meetings during October to explain how the MBS Eating Disorders Treatment Pathway will work.

In NSW, The Northern Rivers Eating Disorders Network is meeting today for a presentation about the MBS Eating Disorders Treatment Pathway and what it means for practitioners. The meeting is being held from 5.30pm-7.30pm at the Bangalow Consulting Centre. If you would like to attend, please register now.

The new Gold Coast Eating Disorders Network held its first meeting on 15 October focussing on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Eating Disorders Treatment Pathway. If you would like to hear about future meetings, please register now.

Find or start a network in your area.

MHPN eating disorder networks

 

Consultation process
The eating disorders treatment pathway is a result of recommendations in 2018 by the independent clinician-led Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce and the Australian Government’s response to those recommendations.

The MBS Review Taskforce (the ‘Taskforce’) established the Eating Disorders Working Group in December 2017 to provide broad clinician and consumer expertise.

In 2018, the MBS Review included a public consultation process on the proposed changes.

Feedback was received from a broad range of stakeholders and considered by the Eating Disorders Working Group before making its final recommendations to the Taskforce.

Stakeholders included:

  • Australia and New Zealand Academy of Eating Disorders

  • InsideOut Institute (formerly Centre for Eating and Eating Disorders)

  • National Eating Disorders Collaboration

  • Butterfly Foundation

  • Consumers Health Forum

  • Australian Association of Social Workers

  • Australian Clinical Psychology Association

  • Australian Psychological Society

  • Royal Australasian College of Physicians

  • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

The Better Access to Mental Health treatment pathway under the MBS remains for all patients who do not fit the eligibility criteria for the MBS Eating Disorders Treatment Pathway.

There will be an evaluation of the new items after 12 months to assess if the items are operating as intended for patients, providers and the government.

More information
Further information on these changes will be provided as the details are confirmed. To find out more, or subscribe for updates, visit www.mbsonline.gov.au.