Life Matters are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our clients and therefore see it as essential to deliver best practice ethical standards in all areas of our business. Our Terms and Conditions are outlined as follows.
Life Matters Psychologists is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our clients. We therefore see it as essential to deliver best practice ethical standards in all areas of our business. We have outlined our general rules and guidelines below for your information.
Prior to your appointment, we ask you to complete a Client Consent Form. The Consent Forms helps you to understand access to information, confidentiality, fees and our cancellation policy. The Consent Form provides us consent from you to communicate with your GP and other nominated personnel in the event that it is required. We ask all clients to complete a new Client Consent Form every 12 months.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
Given Newcastle and Lake Macquarie’s population (moderately small in comparison to capital cities), we may not be able to initially identify a ‘conflict of interest’. The Australian Psychological Societies (APS) code of ethics guidelines outlines that psychologists should not engage in any multiple relationships with clients. A psychologist who sees you individually, as a family or as a couple can only continue to see you in that capacity and cannot engage in providing counselling or other roles to you outside of the initial roles established.
For example, if you see a psychologist individually, that psychologist cannot move into seeing you as part of a family or couple and further to this, they are unable to see other family members of yours if they are already engaged in seeing you for counselling.
This is to help avoid any negative consequences associated with dual or multiple relationships for you as client and to ensure we remain a neutral party. Unfortunately, we are not always able to identify if conflicts exist. However, if a conflict comes to our attention, we may need to refer you to someone else in the practice.
CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND COUPLES.
We enjoy helping children, families and couples. However, in completing this work, we at times discover that children are being abused, neglected or are deemed ‘at risk’. Please note that all psychologists are legally bound to be Mandatory Reporters to the Department of Community Services if these circumstances are evident.
ADOLESCENTS (BETWEEN THE AGE OF 13 -18YRS).
If a client is aged between 13 -18 years, parents cannot book a session with their child’s psychologist to discuss their child without their child’s permission. This breaches confidentiality and can possibly damage the therapeutic alliance, impact the child’s trust in the therapist and cause avoidance of therapy further down the track. This policy is regardless of parental responsibility.
A psychologist will only break confidentiality with a child and discuss matters with the parents, if they deem it necessary due to there being a serious risk of harm or if the child has given them consent. Outside of this, it is not appropriate that a psychologist speaks with the parents without the child being asked and given the opportunity to give informed consent. The parents may request a separate session with the psychologist if necessary.
PEOPLE AT RISK.
If a client is presenting as suicidal or mentally unwell placing themselves or others at significant risk of harm, our psychologists have a duty of care to clients as well as the public. This means they may need to inform others (family members, doctors, police services) who can help to ensure client safety. Confidentiality is not in place when these circumstances are presented to a psychologist.
Client files are stored in an electronic document management system which is accessible only to authorised employees. The information on each file includes personal information such as name, address, contact phone numbers, medical history, and other personal information collected as part of providing the psychological service.
HOW CLIENTS’ PERSONAL INFORMATION IS COLLECTED.
A client’s personal information is collected in a number of ways during psychological consultation with Life Matters Psychologists including when the client provides information directly to Life Matters Psychologists using hardcopy forms, correspondence via email, when the client interacts directly with Life Matters Psychologists employees such as the receptionist, and when other health practitioners provide personal information Life Matters Psychologists, via referrals, correspondence and medical reports.
CONSEQUENCE OF NOT PROVIDING PERSONAL INFORMATION.
PURPOSE OF HOLDING PERSONAL INFORMATION.
A client’s personal information is gathered and used for the purpose of providing psychological services, which includes assessing, diagnosing and treating a client’s presenting issue. The personal information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions, and enables the psychologist to provide a relevant and informed psychological service.
DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION.
Clients’ personal information will remain confidential except when:
- it is subpoenaed by a court; or
- failure to disclose the information would in the reasonable belief of the Life Matters Psychologists place a client or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety; or
- the client’s prior approval has been obtained to:
- provide a written report to another professional or agency, eg, a GP or a lawyer; or
- discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent, employer or health provider; or
- disclose the information in another way; or
- you would reasonably expect your personal information to be disclosed to another professional or agency (eg your GP) and disclosure of your personal information to that third party is for a purpose which is directly related to the primary purpose for which your personal information was collected; or
- disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.
If you have been referred by a GP under a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) we are obligated to provide a letter to your GP after the 6th and 10th appointments. There is no charge for these letters.
A client’s personal information is not disclosed to overseas recipients, unless the client consents or such disclosure is otherwise required by law. Clients’ personal information will not be used, sold, rented or disclosed for any other purpose.
REQUESTS FOR ACCESS AND CORRECTION TO CLIENT INFORMATION.
At any stage clients may request to see and correct the personal information about them kept on file. The psychologist may discuss the contents with them and/or give them a copy, subject to the exceptions in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). If satisfied that personal information is inaccurate, out of date or incomplete, reasonable steps will be taken in the circumstances to ensure that this information is corrected. All requests by clients for access to or correction of personal information held about them should be lodged with Life Matters Psychologists. These requests will be responded to in writing within 30 days and an appointment will be made, if necessary, for clarification purposes.
If clients have a concern about the management of their personal information, they may inform Matthew Stanton, Partner and Clinical Psychologist, Life Matters Psychologists, 02 4965 3530. Upon request they can obtain a copy of the Australian Privacy Principles, which describe their rights and how their personal information should be handled. Ultimately, if clients wish to lodge a formal complaint about the use of, disclosure of, or access to, their personal information, they may do so with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by phone on 1300 363 992, online at http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/making-a-privacy-complaint or by post to, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218, Sydney, NSW 2001.
Life Matters Psychologists is predominantly a therapy-based psychology practice. However, we understand there are circumstances that may require a treatment letter or report and these can be requested. If we are issued with a request as outlined above, the following policy applies:
- Requests for letters and/or reports (excluding Attendance letters) are to be requested via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via post to PO Box 434 The Junction, NSW 2291.
- The psychologist and/or practice manager will determine if the letter or report request is able to be completed.
- The psychologist and/or practice manager will review the letter or report request, and provide preliminary report approval if it does not require further information, documentation and is appropriate to the clients’ needs/satisfaction to legal requirements.
The letter/report will be invoiced to the requesting party. Report price points are based on the type of report requested, and may include additional costs which may include but not limited to review by a Senior Colleague. Additional costs will be billed at time taken (hourly and pro rata hourly rate). A fee will be supplied before the request is fulfilled.
- Invoices for letters and reports need to be paid for prior to the psychologist fulfilling the request.
- For some Client booking types the psychologist is unable to complete a report or letter due to the nature of our contractual agreements. For example, ‘Employee Assistance Program’ clients.
- Unfortunately, we are not able to provide independent medico-legal psychological assessments including those related to psychological injury or criminal matters. Medico-legal assessments are a specialty service offered by approved psychological practices. It is impossible for us to become an independent and objective expert witness for the court after client mental health-focused assessment and treatment has commenced. We do not collect extensive information often required in relation to these requests. Collecting information later does not improve our ability to become an independent and objective witness for the court.
A schedule of fees for document requests is below. GST is charged on top of the below fees.
|Item||Type of Request||Fees||Description|
|1||Special Consideration Letters||$195 – $220 (based on psychologist session rate)||Up to 1 pg letter acknowledging impact of mental health on work or study performance.|
|2||Clinical Notes Review|
Prior to clinical notes produced, hard copy of clinical notes produced and released.
|$195.00 – $220.00 (based on psychologist session rate) + |
Review time from Senior Colleague, (up to an additional $220.00)
|Review of documentation to ensure no adverse mental health impact from review of notes by client.|
Clinical Notes Review, hard copy Clinical notes produced and Posted
|$195.00 – $220.00 (based on psychologist session rate) + |
Review time from Senior Colleague, (up to an additional $220.00
|Review of documentation to ensure no adverse mental health impact from review of notes by client. Clinical notes produced and posted.|
As at 1st May 2020.
In response to advice from Medicare and the APS on 20th April 2020, we are no longer providing bulk billing under the COVID19 eligibility criteria.However, please reach out to us so we can discuss your circumstances and how we can help.
Our fee structure works in line with the Australian Psychological Society’s guidance around fees and services. While we may not bulk bill, we are committed to a high quality, affordable and professional service in all that we do.
Payment is required in full, by either cash or EFTPOS (no AMEX) and is collected prior to your consultation. No accounts will be sent.
For new Private or GP Referred client bookings, we require a $60.00 booking deposit for the first appointment. This will secure your booking and ensure your commitment to attending the session. The deposit will be deducted from your first session fee. No further deposits are required for future appointments.
If, for some reason you need to cancel or postpone your appointment, please advise us at least 24-hours prior your appointment.
For cancellations, ‘no shows’ or changes inside the 24 hours’ notice, Life Matters Psychologists will charge a cancellation fee. Missing an appointment leads to lost sessional income for us and you will be charged the full fee according to our fee schedule.
|Psychologists||Initial Consultation||Subsequent Consultation|
The reason for this charge is due to a high demand for our services and in respect of people waiting to be seen. Your appointment could have been allocated to someone else with enough notice. Cancellation fees are also charged in respect to our psychologists who still need to be paid whether you attend or not.
An account for the cancellation charge will be sent to you if, after failed attempts of contacting you via phone or email, the fee remains unpaid. Cancellation fees must be paid before another booking can be taken.
FURTHER INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS ON FEES AND CANCELLATIONS.
Life Matters Psychologists are registered with most private health funds. You may be entitled to a partial rebate through your fund but this will vary based on your level of cover, please contact your fund to find out. Life Matters Psychologists will provide you with your tax invoice as a private client so that you can claim your rebate through your fund, as we do not have HICAPS. If you are claiming through your private health fund, you are unable to claim through your Mental Health Care Plan too.
Cancellations for Private Clients. If you cancel, no show or make changes inside 24hrs notice, you will have to pay the full fee (see Life Matters Psychologist Fee Schedule) for any missed appointments without 24-hour notice, as per our cancellation policy.
INFO FOR GP REFERRED CLIENTS.
If you have been provided with a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP, you are eligible to receive a partial rebate through Medicare. If you are registered with online services, we can lodge your claim on the spot and Medicare will process your rebate into your nominated account the following business day. Please see rebate amount and gap in the Fee Schedule Table above. If you are using the Medicare rebate with your Mental Health Care Plan, you are unable to claim through your private health fund too.
Cancellations for GP Referred clients – if you cancel, no show or make changes inside 24hrs notice, you will have to pay the full fee (see Life Matters Psychologist Fee Schedule) for any missed appointments without 24hrs notice, as per our cancellation policy. Your missed appointment will not count as one of the MHCP approved sessions by Medicare, which means you will also not receive the Medicare rebate.
INFO FOR EAP CLIENTS.
Your employer determines the number of EAP sessions you are entitled to as they cover the costs of your session. A payslip may be required by your organisation at your initial consultation to verify your employment. An account will be sent to your Employer for payment, please note, your details will not be identified on any accounts. However, if your claim is at any point denied by the employer, fees will then become payable by yourself, the client.
Cancellations for EAP clients – if you cancel, no show or make changes inside 24hrs notice, your session will be charged to your employer and the missed appointment will count as a session utilised from your approved number of sessions advised by your employer.
INFO FOR WORKERS COMPENSATION CLIENTS.
Your Workers Compensation Insurance company should send you an approval for WorkCover which you will need to supply when booking your initial consultation. They will advise your number of approved sessions. An account will be sent to your Insurer for payment. However, if your claim is at any point denied by the Insurer, fees will then become payable by yourself, the client.
Cancellations for Workers Compensation clients – if you cancel, no show or make changes inside 24hrs notice, your session is not paid for by the Insurer. If you cancel, no show or make changes inside 24hrs notice, you will have to pay the full fee (see Life Matters Psychologist Fee Schedule) for any missed appointments without 24hrs notice, as per our cancellation policy.
INFO FOR NDIS CLIENTS.
NDIS should send you an approved NDIS Participant Plan which you will need to supply to Life Matters Psychologists when booking your initial consultation. An NDIS Service Agreement should be signed between yourself, the Participant, and your psychologist prior treatment.
The Participants Plan will include a budget in which Life Matters Psychologists will provide a Treatment Plan around requirements according to your Plan.
- NDIA-Managed Funding: This is where the NDIA pays the Provider on behalf of the Participants. Life Matters Psychologists shall charge according to the current ‘NDIS Price Guide’, and claim the fee through the NDIS portal.
- Self-Management Funding: This is where the NDIA provides the Participant with funding so they can access the supports that will best help them achieve their goals. Life Matters Psychologist shall charge according to the ‘Life Matters Psychologist fee schedule’, the Participants will pay the full amount and manually claim through NDIS themselves.
- Plan-Managed Funding: This is where the NDIA will provide funding in the Participant’s plan to pay for a Plan Manager who pays the Providers. This helps keep track of funds and takes care of financial reporting for the Participant. Depending on how the Plan Manager has sent up the Participant’s Plan, Life Matters Psychologists can either charge according to the ‘Life Matters Psychologists fee schedule’ or use the ‘NDIS Price Guide’ and claim through the NDIS Portal.
Cancellations for NDIS Clients – if you cancel, no show or make changes inside 24hrs notice, you will have to pay the cancellation fee from your approved budget for any missed appointments without 24-hour notice, as per our cancellation policy. When claiming for cancellation costs in the Myplace portal, the system will reduce the claim to 90%. Between March 2020 and September 2020, the cancellation claim will be 100%.
INFO FOR DVA CLIENTS.
You will receive a Veteran number and approval from Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) which you will need to supply when booking your initial consultation. For DVA clients, the number of sessions available is unlimited. A claim will be sent to DVA for payment.
Cancellations for DVA clients – if you cancel, no show or make changes inside 24hrs notice, this session is not paid for by Department of Veterans Affairs. If you cancel, no show or make changes inside 24hrs notice you will have to pay the full fee (see Life Matters Psychologist Fee Schedule) for any missed appointments without 24hrs notice, as per our cancellation policy.
INFO FOR VICTIMS SERVICES CLIENTS.
Victims Services Clients must have approval from the Victims Services office which you will need to supply when booking your initial consultation. Approval is for counselling provided on a short-term basis of up to 22 hours.
A claim will be sent to Victims Services for payment.
Cancellations for Victims Services clients are half paid by Victims Services.
As at 1st May 2020.
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