Summary of Meeting 3 of the Mental Health sub-group 12 July 2018

This page contains the meeting summary for the Mental Health sub-group.

Page last updated: 27 July 2018

Summary of Meeting 3 of the Mental Health sub-group 12 July 2018 (PDF 131 KB)


MembersSecretariat and Invited guests
Dr Jenny Firman, ChairSusan Azmi, Secretariat
Dr Michelle Atchison, Royal Australian & New Zealand College of PsychiatristsPauline Dusink, Secretariat
Christine Gee, Australian Private Hospitals AssociationVanessa Sheehan, Secretariat
Dr Andrew Wilson, Medibank PrivateDavid Whelan, Secretariat
Janne McMahon, Private Mental Health Consumer & Carer NetworkRansome Mclean, Medical Benefits Division, Department of Health
Sian Pritchard, Pritchard Health
Rebecca Randall, Consumer Health Forum
Sophie Harrison, Wyndham Clinic Private Hospital
Andrea Selleck, Australian Regional Health Group
Erkam Kardiric, Australian Health Services Alliance


Dr Louise Roufeil, Australian Psychological Society
Dr Choong-Siew Yong, Australian Medical Association
Patrick Hardwick, Private Mental Health Consumer & Carer Network
Joanne Levin, Healthecare

1. Welcome, housekeeping, apologies and declarations of conflicts of interest

  • The Chair opened the meeting and provided members an opportunity to introduce themselves to new members of the Mental Health Sub-Group (the sub-group) Secretariat.
  • The Chair provided an opportunity for members to declare any new conflicts of interest.

2. Follow-up items from second meeting

  • The Chair asked members to comment on several papers that members had provided for the sub-group’s consideration.
  • The Chair introduced an updated draft principles paper and invited member comments.
  • Members requested a number of further amendments to the principles.

3. Barriers and Incentives

  • Members considered some of the incentives for admitted hospital-based mental health services and barriers to alternative models.
  • Some members considered that difficulty with interpreting the existing legislation might discourage the development of innovative models that may actually be permissible under the Private Health Insurance Act. Members also raised that terminology sometimes linked to funding can be confusing; for example, patients receiving hospital treatment in the community are still ‘admitted’ hospital patients.
  • Insurers noted mental health services are a high cost area for insurers and that because younger people are more likely to utilise these services, insurers are not always able to share this cost across industry through the age-based risk equalisation arrangements.
  • Barriers identified by some members included: that legislation guarantees funding for hospital based care, which may not always be the best care setting for all patients; that an increase in hospital-substitute treatment may not result in a reduction in hospital-based services; lack of access to cost and clinical outcomes data.

4. Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review

  • Ransome Mclean from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Branch of the Department of Health delivered a presentation to the sub-group on the MBS Review of Mental Health Services.
  • The presentation outlined the role of the MBS Taskforce in managing the MBS Review, the scope of the Review, and key considerations relevant to the work of this group.

5. Options for Change

  • The sub-group considered a range of possible options, aiming to address existing barriers or to provide an incentive for clinically appropriate alternative models.
  • The options considered included both industry led change and legislative change.
  • Members indicated their level of support and priority for different options.

6. Implementation Issues

  • Members considered implementation issues that may arise from possible industry or regulatory change.
  • The implementation issues considered related to: timing; independent clinical decision-making; clinical appropriateness; cost shifting to patients, carers and families; capacity of alternative settings; capturing system efficiencies; the broader health system; and drivers for change.

7. Other business

  • The next sub-group meeting is scheduled for 10 August 2018.

In this section