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FAQ’s

At OPTIMIND, we are committed to optimising the mental and physical health of the community.
We value fairness, equity, respect and balance, and believe our collaborative approach ensures you receive the highest quality care.

As the only mental health provider on the Mornington Peninsula with a team of Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Mental Health Nurse, Dietitian and Social Worker, we work together to help you feel better and live better.

Rebates for out of hospital services

SPECIALTY Medicare Private Health Insurance DVA* Work Cover TAC
PSYCHIATRY Need Medical Referral Only for hospital services Written approval required Written approval required
PSYCHOLOGY Up to 10 sessions with GP mental health care plan Need private extras cover – check individual fund Written approval required Written approval required
SOCIAL WORK Up to 10 sessions with GP mental health care plan Selected funds only Written approval required Written approval required
DIETETICS Need complex care plan (GPMP and TCA) Need private extras cover – check individual fund Written approval required Written approval required
MENTAL HEALTH NURSING No referral necessary – no limit on yearly sessions Written approval required

*DVA Gold Card and eligible White Card when directly related to their accepted conditions

Most Clinicians will generally accept carers or support people being present in appointments however, there may be times where the Clinician may prefer to see the patient individually. If you have any concerns, then please discuss this with your Clinician.
In General, Clinician – Patient confidentiality is to be respected – this is legally binding in most circumstances. Exceptions to this would be:
1. When the Clinician deems there is an imminent risk of the patient hurting themselves or someone else.
2. If you are seen here through TAC or Workcover then technically, those insurers own the patient files.
3. If there are family law or other issues that emerge or in certain circumstances the Court can subpoena the files.
4. If the patient is a minor then issues of risk can be communicated to the Parent or carer.
For most appointments, other than those with our Dietician, we can process the Medicare rebate for you through the online Medicare rebate system. As long as your details and bank account is registered with Medicare we should be able to process this for you immediately after taking payment for your consultation.

Your rebate will usually be back in your bank account within one to two business days. If you have an eligible Chronic Disease Management Plan with a Team Care Arrangement (GPMP and TCA) when you see our Dietician your rebate can be claimed directly with Medicare.
Yes, you will need a valid referral from your GP to be eligible for a Medicare rebate for your appointment with one of our clinicians. However, you can see any of our Clinicians, other than our Psychiatrists, without a referral with the understanding that a Medicare rebate will not be available for these appointments.

Psychiatry

A valid referral from your GP is required to see one of our Psychiatrists (see details below on how to book an appointment with one of our highly trained Psychiatrists).

Psychologist

A mental health care plan is required from your GP to be eligible for a Medicare rebate when see a psychologist (up to 10 sessions’ per calendar year). You can book an appointment with one of our Psychologists without a referral, but no rebate through Medicare will be accessible. You may be eligible to make a claim through your private health insurance, please check with your selected fund.

Mental Health Social Worker  

To be able to claim a rebate through Medicare, you will need a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) from your GP or a referral from your Psychiatrist when seeing a Mental Health Social Worker

Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

No referral is required to see a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and you are still able to access a rebate through Medicare for your consultation. There is also no limit to how many visits you can access with a Medicare rebate when seeing a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Dietitian

You can see our Dietitian without a referral – simply call our friendly reception team members to book your time. You may be able to claim a rebate from your private health insurance – check with your selected fund. To be able to access a rebate through Medicare for dietetics services you will need to see your GP to assess if your eligible for a Chronic Disease Management Plan with a Team Care Arrangement (GPMP and TCA). If you are eligible for the (GPMP and TCA) then you will be able to access up to 5 sessions with a rebate.
Many medications related to mental health can affect the appetite, resulting in an increased appetite or slowed metabolism, leading to unwanted weight gain. An Accredited Practising Dietitian can help to devise an eating plan which will assist in paying attention to hunger cues, avoiding non hungry eating and increasing metabolism.

Other medications require specific foods to be avoided or particular diets to be followed to avoid adverse reactions with medications, such as MAOI diet, which requires avoiding tyramine-containing foods to prevent this molecule accumulating to dangerous levels.
To book an initial appointment with a Psychiatrist you will require a valid referral from your GP. Once we receive your referral at our consulting rooms, the Psychiatrist you have been referred to will review your referral to ensure your individual patient needs will be met and that your requirements are within their areas of specialisation/expertise.

As our Psychiatrists don’t practise at our consulting rooms every day and when they are consulting are fully booked it may take up to a week for your referral to be reviewed by one of our Psychiatrists.

If the Psychiatrist you are referred to is not able to meet your needs, we can show your referral to one of our other highly skilled Psychiatrists and if you are approved to see one of other Psychiatrists we can get your referral updated with your new Doctors details in preparation for your first appointment. Once your referral is approved, one of our reception team members will call you to discuss appointment fees and book the next available initial appointment time with you.
An initial appointment with any of our Clinicians will last for up to one hour. Follow up appointments may vary from 30 minutes up to one hour, check with our reception team members when booking your appointments.
Depending on which Clinician you are booking to see will determine how long you may need to wait. Some appointments can be accommodated within 1 to 2 weeks, however, particularly with our Psychiatrists, an initial appointment may take 3 to 4 weeks or possibly longer, depending on the Doctor you have been referred to.

We are not a crisis centre, and as such, do not have urgent appointment places at request. If you need urgent assistance, we suggest heading to your nearest emergency department at hospital or contacting the Frankston CAT team on 1300 792 977
This will be dependent on your individual health care needs and can be discussed with your Clinician throughout your consultation.
This is entirely up to you, your clinician and your individual circumstances. Most ongoing patients have recurring appointments every fortnight or each month. The recommended time period between sessions will be discussed with you during your initial appointment. It may also vary during your ongoing treatment depending on your individual circumstances at the time.
Depending on your private health insurance policy cover, you may be able to claim for Psychiatry or Psychology sessions.
OPTIMIND has adequate car parking on site and discreet signage. Our waiting rooms are filled with natural light and on your first visit to our consulting rooms, after checking in with our friendly reception team members, we will ask you to fill out some forms so we can capture all of your details.
When you have a Mental Health Care Plan, you receive money back from Medicare for up to 10 individual or 10 group appointments with an allied mental health service in a year. In some cases, you are also entitled to Medicare rebates for 10 support group sessions in a year with psychologists, counsellors and social workers,

It’s important to note that you won’t get Medicare rebates for all 10 sessions in 1 go. Once you’ve had the first 6 appointments, you will need to visit your GP again for another referral. This plan is also used to refer you to mental health services. A referral from a Psychiatrist can be used instead of a MHCP from a GP.
This will depend on how recently you have seen your Psychiatrist. You may need to book an appointment with your Psychiatrist for a review. If you have had an appointment recently and your Psychiatrist agrees, they may be willing to issue you a script out of consultation.

The fee for this will be $20 per script. Please allow 7 days for your script to be prepared as our Psychiatrists do not consult every day in our consulting rooms and scripts cannot be prepared immediately at the time of request.
A Clinical Psychologist treats mental health problems by using psychotherapeutic treatments. They typically have the same training as Psychologists but have completed an extra 2 years of study at Master’s degree level or above. Many Clinical Psychologist have extensive training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Some clinical psychologists use the title “Doctor” because they’ve also completed a Ph.D. in Psychology or a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D). Clinical Psychologists typically assist people with problems including:
  • Depression,
  • Panic attacks,
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD),
  • Social anxiety,
  • Phobias,
  • Stress management,
  • Anger management,
  • Trauma reactions and PTSD,
  • Learning to live with chronic pain,
  • Marriage and relationship therapy,
  • Sexual disorders, and
  • Eating disorders.
Source: Australian Psychological Society
Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) have the qualifications and skills to provide expert nutrition and dietary advice. APDs are university-qualified professionals that undertake ongoing training and education programs to ensure that they are your most up-to-date and credible source of nutrition information, in line with DAA Professional Standards. APD’s are trained to assess nutritional needs. They also assist people to manage health conditions and diseases using food as Medical Nutrition Therapy. They help treat a wide range of conditions including diabetes, heart disease, cancers, gastrointestinal diseases, food allergies, food intolerance’s, disordered eating as well as overweight and obesity. Accredited Practising Dietitians can help with everyday healthy eating by translating scientific health and nutrition information into practical advice including:
  • Assessing individual nutritional needs
  • Developing personalised eating plans
  • Developing medical nutrition therapy plans
  • Delivering group nutrition education sessions
  • Sorting out nutrition fact from fiction
  • Undertaking nutrition and food research
  • Training health care professionals
  • Developing nutrition communications, programs and policies.
No referral is needed, unless you wish to receive a rebate through Medicare, so anyone can call and make a booking Anyone with a chronic health condition, can get Chronic Disease Management Plan from their GP, which entitles them to up to 5 allied health visits per calendar year that are rebated by Medicare. Private Health Insurance extras covers Dietetics, so if patients have these extras, then this will reduce the fee as well.
If you are struggling with mental health issues, including stress, anxiety and depression it is important to talk to your GP. It may be necessary to book a longer session with your GP to discuss this. Under the Better Access To Mental Health Care Commonwealth Government initiative, you may be eligible for a Mental Health Care Plan. You will be eligible for Mental Health Care Plan if you have a mental health issue, condition or disorder that your GP has diagnosed. A Mental Health Care Plan identifies the type of mental health care you require and what it needs to achieve.
Mental Health Social Workers are dedicated to the pursuit of social justice and strive to help those affected by mental illness, drug and alcohol, poverty, disabilities, unemployment, housing issues and other personal problems and social disadvantages. A Mental Health Social Worker assesses and treats people who have mental health disorders that include:
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Life crises
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Personality disorders
  • Relationship problems
  • Trauma
  • Family conflicts
They help to improve their patient’s life by resolving current psychological issues and the associated social problems that result from them. A Mental Health Social Worker understands the wider implications of their patient having a mental illness and how it impacts on their work, family, friends and lifestyle. Mental Health Social Workers possess a high degree of compassion and empathy for helping their patients, strong interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and good listening and organizational skills. They have extensive knowledge of human behaviour and development, as well as social, cultural, and economic institutions and the ways in which they interact. Metal Health Social Workers diagnose treat mental health conditions as well. They provide individual, family, and couples therapy, and they assist with depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol, family problems, and other mental health or behavioural issues. Mental Health Social Workers create treatment plans, and facilitate interventions when necessary. Mental Health Social Workers are highly trained professionals working to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of patients through direct practice, crisis intervention, advocacy, community organizing and psycho-education.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are experts in mental health. With a minimum of 12 years medical training, they focus on diagnosing and treating people with mental illness. Psychiatrists help people with mental health conditions including anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and addiction. After a Psychiatrist has assessed your mental and physical symptoms they can:
  • Provide urgent care for a sudden mental illness
  • Help you to manage a long-term mental health condition
  • Provide advice about lifestyle changes
  • Work with you individually, or with you and your partner, family or carers
  • Provide second opinions and advice to other doctors and health professionals
  • Refer you to other health professionals
  • Admit you to hospital if required.
Psychiatrists can prescribe medication to improve your mental health. It is important to note that this will be fully discussed with you, your family and support network. Source (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists) https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/
A registered psychologist has the professional training and clinical skills that help their patients cope more effectively with mental health problems or life issues. They use a variety of techniques and research to help improve anxiety, depression, grief, change of life issues, stress or relationship issues.
Social workers help individuals, groups, families and communities to improve their individual and collective health and wellbeing. They typically have a Bachelor of Social Work or a Masters of Social Work degree.
Allied health describes the broad range of health professionals who are not doctors, nurses or dentists. An allied health professional aims to provide the best patient outcomes by preventing, diagnosing and treating a range of illnesses and conditions. They often work within a multidisciplinary health team in settings that include:
  • Private practice
  • Hospitals
  • Community health centres
  • Mental health services
  • Care homes
  • Schools
  • Universities
Professions which are classified as Allied Health include:
  • Audiologist – Assessment, treatment and prevention of hearing and balance disorders.
  • Chiropractor – Diagnose and treat physiological and mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
  • Dietitian – Advises patients on nutrition for health, weight management or for specific medical conditions.
  • Exercise Physiologist – Focuses on therapy and rehabilitation of injury, chronic disease and disability through exercise.
  • Medical Imaging Professionals – Including radiographers, sonographers and radiologists.
  • Occupational Therapist – Assist people with illness or disability to develop or maintain daily living and work skills.
  • Osteopath – Works with manipulation of the musculoskeletal system to treat and prevent injury.
  • Orthotists – Prescribe, design and fit braces and other devices to aid mobility and rehabilitation, correct deformity and relieve discomfort.
  • Perfusionist – Operates a range of machinery during surgery (and in ICU) to monitor a patient’s physiological status.
  • Pharmacist – Prepare, dispense and manufacture medicines and advise on their appropriate use. Pharmacists may also work in a research capacity.
  • Physiotherapist – Focuses on the diagnosis, management and prevention of movement disorders and injury.
  • Podiatrist – Treats conditions of the feet and lower limbs
  • Psychologist – Studies, treats and evaluates mental and behavioural processes.
  • Social Worker – Helps people deal with personal and social issues through counselling, community engagement, advocacy and various programmes.
  • Speech Pathologist – Assess and treat patients who have a communication disability. Speech pathologists may also work with patients who have trouble swallowing.
We work with you to optimise your mental health outcomes. This means we’re not here to fix you, but work with you to support you in developing self-management techniques such as exercise, diet, medications, sleep and mindfulness.
Through Medicare, the Better Access initiative provides better access to mental health practitioners. Its purpose is to improve the management and treatment of mental illness within the community. The Better Access initiative aims to increase community access to mental health professionals and team-based mental health care. General practitioners are encouraged to work closely and collaboratively with Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Registered Psychologists and appropriately trained Social Workers and Occupational Therapists. You can find out more information about the Better Access Scheme here http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-ba-fact-pat
The Chronic Disease Management Plan (formerly known as the EPC) is a Commonwealth government initiative that lets people with chronic ailments or injuries access to professional services with the benefits of a Medicare Rebate so they can better manage their condition. It allows you to utilise the services of an Allied Health Professional up to five times within a calendar year while receiving a rebate through Medicare.

You will need a referral to a Dietitian from your GP to be eligible to receive the rebate through Medicare. The Chronic Disease Management Plan aims to help patients who have a chronic injury, or health condition that is not being managed effectively. You must have a chronic medical condition that has been present for 6 months or longer that’s not being managed well in its current state. Find out more about the Chronic Disease Management Plan here http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mbsprimarycare-chronicdiseasemanagement
While Psychiatrists and Psychologists are both trained to provide treatments for mental health conditions, their university training, diagnosis method and treatments differ. Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors who have specialist Psychiatry training. Psychologists usually complete a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science at university with Honours in psychology. Psychiatrists and Psychologists understand how the emotions, thoughts, feelings and the brain works and can treat this through talk therapy. Because Psychiatrists are medical doctors, they are trained to see the link between mental and physical health. If physical health is affecting the mental state, they can prescribe medication to treat this. The key differences between Psychiatrists and Psychologists include:
  • Psychiatrists are medical doctors while most Psychologists aren’t.
  • Psychiatrists can prescribe medication but Psychologists can’t.
  • Psychiatrists usually treat more serious and complex mental health issues including severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide.
  • Psychologists usually treat less serious mental health conditions including behavioural problems, mild to moderate depression, anxiety and learning difficulties.
  • A referral from your GP is required to see a Psychiatrist. You do not need a referral from your GP to see a Psychologist.
Source (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists) https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/

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