Novel Coronavirus & CoVID-19

Here are some helpful resources amidst this global health crisis. As well as information about Telehealth at Enhance Life Psychology.

Information about CoVID-19

Reputable information about Coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, and CoVID-19 can be found at the following sites. Please ensure that you any information your are relying on comes from reputable sources. Please follow advice provided by these sites and your GP.

It is also important to follow the advice and restrictions put in place by the government. Please ensure you keep up-to-date as these change over time.

Seeking help – Telehealth

Online video consultation

Medicare and CoVID-19

The government has released medicare items specifically for COVID-19 that enable clients to seek a medicare rebate for services delivered via telehealth. These items started being applicable in March and are currently valid until 30 September 2020. These items are applicable to everyone. The current allowance for medicare rebateable telehealth is currently slated to end for those based in metropolitan areas. Those based in rural and remote areas, as outline elsewhere, will continue to be able to access rebates for telehealth services. 

Enhance Life Psychology Policy -this is the standard fee policy

  1. If you have a valid mental healthcare plan (you would have been referred by your GP) and you are struggling financially you might be considered eligible to be bulk-billed (and you will be asked to assign your right to Medicare benefits to the practice).
  2. If you have a valid mental healthcare plan (you would have been referred by your GP) and you continue to work you will be paying the full fee as normal and the rebate will be processed for you.
  3. If you are paying privately (you do not have a GP referral) there is no change to your fee.

You are welcome to discuss the above policy if you have concerns with how it applies to you.

Please note: The MBS system changed rapidly in response to rapid changes to the pandemic. The conditions around Telehealth changed rapidly to allow us to stay safe. It is hoped that further changes will be made to allow telehealth to continue indefinitely, but this is yet to be announced.  We have our fingers crossed!

Please note that the current items for BushFire Relief still apply but will cease at the end of 2021. And those seeking to use these items must have been impacted by the 2019-2020 Summer bushfires. Information can be found here.

Telehealth services for those in areas allocated as MMM4-7 are as normal. If you live in one of these areas and you located are more than 15km from your psychologist you are eligible to claim a rebate for full fee services with you psychologist. Information about the Modified Monash Model can be found here and if you click here you can see which MMM area your home falls into.

Rationale

Like many in our communities and many of my colleagues we are working towards limiting the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The original aim, to flatten the curve, meant slowing the rate of infection within our community to enable our health system a better chance to cope with the impact on our health that SARs-CoV2 (the current coronavirus) creates when it causes CoVID-19. Yes, this means that if we are successful in slowing the rate of infection the health system will be dealing with this disease for many months to come… but it will be better able to cope. In July 2020 Melbourne experienced increased community transmission, which was, to some extent, expected by researchers. However, the goal is to continue to work to limit the pressure on the medical and hospital system.

We are asked to physically distance ourselves from others (not socially isolate ourselves) and this means that we are make the choice to go out less and to have face-to-face contact with fewer people.

New announcements by government are forcing many into implementing this.

And it is understood that this will impact many businesses and the income of many in the community.

What is Telehealth? And how will this work?

Telehealth uses telecommunications technology to the transmit images, voice and other data between two or more sites to provide health services such as clinical advice, consultation, education and training services. In psychology it means that we conduct therapy using online video conferencing platforms. The platforms that are used have end-to-end encryption which ensure participant confidentiality and privacy.

Research suggests that Telehealth tends to yield similar outcomes as traditional face-to-face therapy consultations. And using video has been found to be better than telephone counselling.

Enhance Life Psychology chooses to uses PowerDiary as it’s Practice Management System. There is an inbuilt Telehealth platform, also called online video counselling or e-health. The PowerDiary system means you can click a link, unique to you, that is included in your reminder email. We will use Zoom as a backup for those times when there are technical issues. A link and password to join will be sent to you at the time if we need to switch to Zoom. At times the reception can be poor, in these cases we will maintain the video but on mute and use the phone for voice communication.

Consultations can be booked online through the booking portal. But email and phone can also be used to schedule a consultation.

Resources for Wellbeing

For many people this is a really tough time. And sometimes it might not be possible to continue to engage in therapy, or even to start the engagement process. Here are some useful resources that might help you at this time –

Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertaintyGuidebook by Psychology Tools

FACE COVID – An ACT workbook by Dr Russ Harris on how to cope with the current health crisis

The School of Life in Melbourne has put together a “Stay at Home Care Kit” that some might find helpful.

Tara Brach has put together a lovely list of resources that could be helpful right now. You can find it on her website here – https://www.tarabrach.com/pandemic/

 

Resources will continue to be updated on an ongoing basis.