Like us, you will no doubt be following the news on the Coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak.
We are still seeing NEW clients (mostly via online counselling - known as Telehealth) as well as supporting current clients.
At Hopscotch and Harmony, your health and wellbeing is of utmost importance to us. We want to keep you up to date on the procedures we have put in place to protect you and our team in the current situation. We will be keeping this page updated with new information.
If you’ve returned from any of the at-risk countries listed on this Health Department page in the past fortnight or had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, please don’t come into the clinic (even if you don’t have symptoms).
We do not have any current plans to close the Werribee or Belmont clinics. We will act on advice issued by the Department of Health as the situation develops. If there is a change we will advise you by email and SMS.
We thank you for your understanding and co-operation in this matter and will endeavour to keep you updated as the situation unfolds. As ever, we are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have and, of course, we wish you and your family good health.
CAN I GET A MEDICARE REBATE FOR MY TELEHEALTH SESSIONS?
We are very pleased that the government announced that as of Monday 20th April all clients can get a Medicare rebate for Telehealth sessions if they have a valid referral under a Mental Health Treatment Plan. This means that there is no difference in the billing and rebate for appointments in the clinic or via Telehealth.
Changes to NDIS fees
NDIS clients can attend Telehealth sessions with NDIS funding these sessions.
The NDIA have recognised the importance of Allied Health Providers being able to offer an ongoing service during the COVID19 Pandemic and so have reviewed the price schedule for some services. This is to try and help us keep our doors open over this period.
As of 25 March 2020, we are aligning the fee for a psychology session to their allowance of $235.85 and dietetic sessions to $213.39.
NDIA have also increased the cancellation provision so that any appointments cancelled up to ten days in advance will be charged the full session fee.
If you have a plan review booked with an NDIS adviser, they will contact you to conduct this plan review by phone.
If you do not have a plan review booked but your NDIS plan is due to expire shortly, the NDIA will automatically extend all plans for 365 days. You will not need a report from your clinician for this extension.
For further information on how your NDIS funding may be affected by the COVID19 Pandemic we recommend that you talk to your Local Area Coordinator or visit ndis.gov.au/coronavirus
Please follow our usual policy for cancellations. Where we are notified two days before your appointment (up until 4pm), then there will be no cancellation fee charged.
Please contact our client relationships team on 9741 5222 and we will be happy to make another appointment for you. If you are changing your appointment with three or more days notice then you can reschedule your upcoming appointment online (look for the website link in your appointment confirmation email).
If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) or a chest infection, and can not give 48 hours’ notice, please call us as soon as you can. We may be able to use this time to create resources for you or to write a needed report. Please call to let us know your situation so we can work with you.
We want to keep our practice operational during this difficult time so please give us as much notice as possible if you can't attend an appointment. We don't like charging cancellation or non-attendance fees but we do have other clients urgently waiting for appointments so appreciate your cooperation to minimise any cancellation fee that might apply.
Bulk Billing: I HEARD THAT ALL TELEHEALTH SESSIONS ARE BULK BILLED. TELL ME MORE...
For a few weeks in March and early April, Telehealth mental health services were being promoted in a way that suggested sessions must be bulk billed. Unfortunately this was incorrect. Private practices have always had the choice to use the Medicare Telehealth items or not.
As we are a large practice with no government funding we are unable to keep our doors open, pay our staff and keep providing services if we bulk bill and therefore reduce our fees by more than 50%. We see it as our responsibility to ensure that we will come out the other side of COVID-19 strong and still being able to provide our services.
From April 20th, clients can receive a Medicare rebate for Telehealth sessions just like they would with a clinic appointment. The Australian Psychological Society recommend that private practices charge a fee in excess of $250 in order to cover costs and to be paid a salary. Please know that we are doing the best balancing the needs of the community with the needs of sustaining our practice. We want to stick around!
What can you (and we) do to reduce risk of infection?
We are committed to ensuring our team are healthy when they are at work. We are equally committed to reducing your risk of exposure to illness while attending your appointments with us.
We are following Department of Health guidelines around hygiene and encourage you to do the same:
Cough into your elbow
Throw away soiled tissues
Wash hands for a minimum 20 seconds regularly, or use hand sanitiser often
Stay home if you are unwell
We are ensuring team members remain at home if they are unwell
We are disinfecting surfaces regularly and are reducing shared items in the waiting room.
We ask that you reschedule your appointments with us at the first sign of ill-health.
Please remember that the risk of infection is not dependent on race, ethnicity, or culture.
What if my clinician or I am isolated but well enough to have my session?
If you or one of our H&H clinicians cannot attend the clinic due to self-isolation, you will be offered a Telehealth (online video or telephone) appointment as an alternative to cancelling. It’s as simple as clicking a link in an email!
When will face-to-face sessions resume? My sessions are currently telehealth.
Please ask your clinician. Some clinicians are exclusively telehealth while others are doing some sessions in the clinic.