Experts call for ‘urgent’ change to Medicare rebate

Medicare does not cover parents seeking advice on how to protect their children

A child protection expert at Australian Catholic University is backing a call for an urgent change to Medicare rebates to help address mental health issues among children. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Daryl Higgins, director of the university's Institute of Child Protection Studies, has joined a list of prominent health academics calling for the change.

They want Medicare rebates to be changed to cover families seeking parenting advice to protect their children’s mental health.

“Currently, Medicare rebates are only available for services to be provided to the person with the health problem,” Professor Higgins said.

“This means, that if children are struggling with mental health problems, services must be provided directly to the child.”

In an open letter to the federal Government on behalf of the Parenting and Family Research Alliance, Professor Higgins joined professors John Toumbourou, chair in health psychology at Deakin University, and Jan Nicholson, director of the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University, to point to the glaring gap.

“We call on the federal Government to enable effective parenting programs to be delivered by psychologists and other authorised practitioners as part of the Better Access to Mental Health Care Initiative,” they wrote.

“Child mental health is greatly affected by parenting. However, the current Medicare system does not fund service assistance to parents to advise them how to take effective actions to improve the mental health of their children and families.”

Professor Higgins said the Commonwealth Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan recommended children in mental distress, and their families, have access to programs that met their needs.


ACU academic joins call for Medicare change to help protect children’s mental health (By Peter Bugden, The Catholic Leader

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