Referrals & Fees
Information for Patients, GPs, and other Referring Health Care Professionals.
All patients require a referral from their GP or from another medical specialist in order to be eligible for a Medicare reimbursement. GP referrals must be renewed every 12 months, whilst a referral from another medical specialist is only valid for 3 months. It is incumbent on patients to organise valid referrals.
Please note that a referral letter from your GP should assist our clinicians to determine whether an initial assessment with our clinicians would be applicable. Following an initial assessment, a letter will be sent to your GP with relevant information, often including diagnostic impressions and treatment recommendations. Please note that your first assessment may not necessarily entail continuity of care at Sunnyside Clinic, given that a recommendation may be made for follow-up treatment to be obtained with another professional elsewhere.
Patients may be asked to complete assessments tools and to bring these along to their appointments, according to the reason for consultation.
At Sunnyside Clinic we offer a multidisciplinary model of care according to which experts from different disciplines provide quality mental health care to our patients. Your treatment experience at Sunnyside starts with a comprehensive interview with our Nurse Practitioner (NP), a highly qualified health care professional who will provide patient care in an advanced and extended clinical role. Our NP will facilitate a referral to a psychologist and/or drug and alcohol counsellor, when applicable. The NP will work closely with your psychiatrist and facilitate access to scripts, laboratory and imaging tests, as well as communication with your GP. The advantages of such multidisciplinary care include reduction of consultation costs and waiting time to obtain mental health care, as well as more efficient coordination of care. Medicare offer rebates for the NP initial comprehensive assessment and follow-up reviews, with affordable out-of-pocket costs.
At Sunnyside, all psychiatrists charge rates similar to those stipulated by the Australian Medical Association (AMA). We do not bulk-bill. Your consult with a psychiatrist will have a portion that is eligible for reimbursement from Medicare. Please note that private health insurance does not cover outpatient appointments.
Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists
Our clinical psychologists charge competitive rates. Medicare rebates of about $125 per standard consultation are available for up to 10 sessions if a Medical Practitioner or Psychiatrist refers you through completing a Mental Health Care Plan. Alternatively, Private Health Fund rebates can be claimed if your policy covers you to see a Clinical Psychologist. A concessional rate/bulk billing may be considered on a needs basis.
Senior Counsellor in Addictive Disorders
At Sunnyside we offer specialised counselling in addictive disorders with an emphasis on relapse prevention strategies, supportive care and motivational interventions. Special emphasis is given to the implementation of sustainable lifestyle changes, the development of better coping mechanisms, and the identification of key risk factors. Counselling on addictive disorders is offered by highly experienced professionals in a compassionate and non-judgemental manner. Out-of-pocket fees apply for this type of care.
Access to entitlements under Medicare’s Safety Net scheme may assist patients who require frequent mental health care to limit the total expenditure with out-of-pocket cost over one calendar year.
Patients will reach the Medicare safety net after having spent AU$ 2184 for singles and families (within a calendar year). The safety net limit is significantly lower for those with concession or health cards, including pensioners and seniors. Please contact Medicare in order to confirm the information provided above and to register any family member receiving care at Sunnyside to obtain eligibility via the safety net. The registration with safety net as a family group may allow individual costs with mental health care to be counted as an EMSN (Extended Medicare Safety Net).
How can I pay?
Accounts are paid in full by credit card or eftpos at the time of appointment. Gap payments and cash payments are not available. Credit card details will be requested by our receptionist at the time of your appointment booking and charged following the appointment.
Payments via credit cards will attract a surcharge of 1.2%, whereas payments with EFTPOS cards will be charged fifty cents ($ 0.50) per transaction.
Cancellation or Failure to Attend Fee Policy
- For cancellations with antecedence of more than 2 business days, no cancellation fee applies.
- For cancellations with one business day’s notice, a 50% cancellation fee applies.
- For cancellations on the day of the appointment or failure to attend, the full fee will be charged to the credit card nominated.
Please contact Sunnyside as soon as possible if you intend to cancel an appointment; there are patients waiting for an opportunity to consult with mental health care professionals at Sunnyside.
Please note that cancellation fees do not attract any rebate.
Issuance of repeat scripts
Repeats will be issued upon request if the patient has seen the psychiatrist at least once in the last semester. A fee of $30.00 will apply in most cases, although the issuance of scripts for certain medications (psychostimulants and OST) will attract a higher fee ($50.00). It may take up to three business days for scripts to be issued, faxed and mailed to the designated chemist.
Early notification of need for script issuance are strongly advised.
Patients receiving care for any mental disorder, including ADHD, may require frequent clinical reviews. It is highly unlikely that patients obtaining care at Sunnyside Clinic will receive prescription for medications with several repeats without having to attend regular clinical reviews. Patients receiving pharmacotherapy may require at least quarterly reviews. At Sunnyside Clinic we believe that mental health care based on regular clinical evaluations result in superior level of care.
At Sunnyside we treat all staff, colleagues, and patients with courtesy and respect. We understand many individuals seeking mental health care may be experiencing emotional difficulties, including irritability and despair. Yet, at Sunnyside we also care about the wellbeing of our staff. Offensive language and threatening behaviour do cause emotional distress. Hence, in the event of any form of intimidating communication or belligerent behaviour, clinical treatment at Sunnyside may be suspended and attendance to all consultations ceased.
At Sunnyside we welcome suggestions for improvement. Even though we work industriously to provide better care, we all benefit from learning how to provide care in a better way to suit your needs. Please call us or drop us a line. This will be more effective than writing vitriols online and/or anonymous accusatory reviews. We have observed a lot of suffering caused by online trolling on social media – enough of that please!