Rebate toallow access to online psychologists

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Pilbara locals will now get the same access to psychologists as those living in major cities under a new telehealth initiative rolling out later this year.

A major barrier to rural residents accessing mental health treatment will be removed with the introduction of a new Medicare rebate for online video-conferencing consultations with a psychologist.

From November 1, people in rural and regional Australia will be able to claim a Medicare rebate for timely and convenient online video conferencing consultations with health professionals who might be thousands of kilometres away.

The initiative is the first to be rolled out following the announcement of the Regional Australia Ministerial Taskforce, chaired by Malcolm Turnbull.

The initiative will cost $9 million over four years from 2017-18 to 2020-21.

President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Dr Ewen McPhee, said early intervention in acute mental health crisis can assist a patient in getting better quicker and reduce suicide rates.

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