Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program
As part of this year's Budget, the Australian Government is providing an additional $22.4 million of funding to the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program in 2013–14 to make sure people with a severe mental illness can continue to receive coordinated clinical care services while the program is redesigned in response to the findings of the 2012 evaluation report
Services under the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program will be maintained at 2012–13 service levels while findings from a comprehensive evaluation of the program are considered and the best structure for the program in future years determined in consultation with stakeholders.
This additional funding will make sure existing eligible organisations and nurses can maintain client service levels, and continue to make claims to Medicare so patients receive the care they need. Organisations can continue to accept new patients into the program and engage new nurses, as long as the overall service levels of the organisation are maintained.
Medicare will shortly write to existing organisations advising them of their session levels for 2013-14. These allocations will be based on organisations’ 2012-13 allocation, taking into account the number of 2012-13 sessions conducted and claimed, and which have been paid by Medicare.
Where organisations have fully or substantially utilised their 2012-13 allocation, they will be provided with the same allocation for 2013-14. Where organisations have utilised less than their 2012-13 allocation, they will be provided with a session allocation for 2013-14 based on actual service levels in 2012-13.
Organisations that receive a reduced allocation in 2013-14 will be eligible to seek a review of their 2013-14 allocation. Requests for review, outlining the circumstances that impacted on the organisation’s 2012-13 service levels, the number of additional sessions sought and evidence to support the request must be submitted to Medicare by 31 July 2013. Organisations will be notified of the outcome of their request for a review in September 2013.
Organisations must maintain services within their allocated level for 2013-14 until they receive advice on the outcome of the review.
For more details regarding 2013-14 session allocations processes, please refer to the MHNIP frequently asked questions on the Department of Health and Ageing website.
Medicare will be assisting all organisations in managing their session levels by monitoring monthly the sessions that have been provided and providing organisations with a quarterly update. If the organisation’s session levels are higher than would be expected based on their allocation, such that it is possible that they may exceed their total allocation prior to the end of 2013-14, they will be advised more frequently.
Organisations, in consultation with their mental health nurses, are responsible for managing services within their 2013-14 allocation.
Where organisations claim for sessions that are in excess of their 2013-14 allocation, these additional sessions will not be paid.
In 2013-14 Medicare will maintain a waiting list to manage the reallocation of sessions that have been relinquished by other organisations. In addition to the criteria outlined in the MHNIP guidelines for eligible organisations, the following criteria will also be applied to organisations on the waiting list:
- ensuring continuity of care to existing patients
- availability of MHNIP services in the local region, and
- availability of program funding.
Where there is opportunity to reallocate sessions, priority will be given to organisations in areas with limited or no MHNIP services to improve the distribution of services across geographic locations. This is consistent with the findings of the 2012 MHNIP evaluation.
For more information read the frequently asked questions on the Department of Health and Ageing website, or call Medicare on 1800 222 032 (call charges may apply) between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday, Australian Central Standard Time.
The Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) funds community based general practices, private psychiatric practices and other appropriate organisations to engage mental health nurses to assist in the provision of coordinated clinical care for people with severe mental health disorders.
Mental health nurses work in collaboration with psychiatrists and general practitioners to provide services such as monitoring a patient’s mental state, medication management and improving links to other health professionals and clinical service providers. These services are provided in a range of settings, such as clinics or patient’s homes and are provided at little or no cost to the patient.
Support provided under this initiative targets patients with severe mental health disorders during periods of significant disability. A patient should exit the MHNIP when he or she does not require the level of support as outlined.
An evaluation of the MHNIP was completed in 2012 and the Australian Government is currently considering the evaluation findings and consulting with the sector on the re-design of the program.
Further information on the consultation process is available on the Department of Health and Ageing website.
Eligible organisations must be community based and have the services of a general practitioner with a Medicare provider number or a psychiatrist registered with Medicare.
Eligible organisations may include:
- general practices
- private psychiatry practices, and
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Services funded by the Australian Government through the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
In addition, Divisions of General Practice can contract the services of mental health nurses to work with general practitioners with a Medicare Australia provider number or other medical officers (as approved by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing) working within their Division. Medicare Locals are also eligible to receive payments under the MHNIP.
Eligible organisations must engage the services of a mental health nurse credentialed with the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.
Information on the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses credentialing program can be found on the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses website.
Eligible organisations can engage more than one mental health nurse.
Eligible organisations can enter into shared employment arrangements with state or territory health organisations for mental health nursing services. Under these arrangements, organisations can use the services of state employed mental health nurses, on a fee for service basis, and still receive MHNIP payments for sessions provided by those nurses.
Health of the Nation Outcomes Scale (HoNOS) training
As a part of the eligibility requirements, mental health nurses must be trained in the use of the Health of the Nation Outcomes Scale (HoNOS). The most comprehensive site outlining the HoNOS measurement tool is that of the Royal College of Psychiatry (UK).
Further detail on eligibility requirements for mental health nurses and patients, can be found in the MHNIP program guidelines below.
The establishment payment is a one-off payment designed to assist with an organisations’ upfront costs associated with the MHNIP, such as mental health nurse recruitment, training, accommodation, travel and equipment costs.
A $10,000 GST free establishment payment will be paid to organisations who engage a mental health nurse for between five and ten sessions per week over a six month period,from receipt of approved evidence.
A $5000 GST free establishment payment will be paid to organisations who engage a mental health nurse for between one and four sessions per week over a six month period, from receipt of approved evidence.
All eligible organisations can apply for the one off payment by submitting the MHNIP establishment payment application form below and the required evidence to support their establishment payment claim.
The rate of $240 (GST free) per session will be applied to all claims. This figure is inclusive of all mental health nurse salary and on-costs, including personal and recreation leave.
Regular payments from July 2008
Incentive payments under the MHNIP will be made monthly by Medicare.
This means that claims received during a particular month will be paid by the end of the following month.
Organisations who believe they meet the eligibility requirements, and wish to apply for the MHNIP, must register by submitting the MHNIP application form below.
The completed form must be signed by the authorised contact person for the organisation and returned to:
Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program
GPO Box 2572
Adelaide SA 5001
Fax: 1300 581 573
Applications are assessed by Medicare. If necessary, Medicare may contact the eligible organisation for additional information. Eligible organisations will be advised in writing of the outcome of the assessment process.
Please note that incomplete application forms usually result in a delay to the approval process.
Organisations will be notified by Medicare of the receipt of their application within 21 calendar days.
- MHNIP guidelines [RTF, 62.3Mb]
- Interactive MHNIP Claim Form [PDF, 226Kb]
- MHNIP application form [PDF, 132Kb]
- MHNIP establishment payment application form [PDF, 161Kb]
- Monthly MHNIP claim form [PDF, 226Kb]
- MHNIP change of organisation details form [PDF, 146Kb]
- MHNIP change to authorised contact person(s) form [PDF, 158Kb]
- Department of Health and Ageing
- Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
- Department of Health and Ageing COAG Mental Health
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
- Evaluation of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program
- MNHIP quarterly news update archive
Some documents on this page may require the free Adobe PDF reader.
Last updated: 14 May, 2013