In 2012 the EMDRAA Board first began the process of identifying requirements for the recognition and inclusion of EMDR therapy as a Focused Psychological Strategy under the Medicare Better Access to Health Care Scheme.
In 2017, a final application was drafted to the Australian Government Department of Health to propose that EMDR therapy be listed as an additional, individual Focused Psychological Strategy under the Medicare Better Access to Mental Health Care Scheme. Much time and care went into describing the detailed information required by the department, in order for them to determine whether a proposed medical service is suitable or appropriate for addition. EMDRAA provided detailed information to the Medical Services Advisory Committee including substantial research evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of EMDR therapy. EMDRAA also sent delegates in person to speak directly with the department and answer their questions.
In February 2019, the Australian Government released their long-awaited reports into psychological services under Medicare from the Mental Health Reference Group, Allied Health Reference Group and the Pain Management Clinical Committee. These were commissioned as part of the MBS Review. The mental health report made a number of recommendations, including the addition of 14 more evidence-based therapies under Better Access, including EMDR. However, this was only the initial recommendation, and it was still a long road ahead before EMDR was officially added to the list of approved Focused Psychological Strategies under the Better Access to Mental Health Care Scheme.
Following the MBS Review Taskforce, it was finally announced that from 1 May 2020, EMDR would officially be added to the list of Focused Psychological Strategies. From this day forward, therapists with appropriate training and experience in providing EMDR therapy could now do so and their services were eligible for Medicare rebates for clients with a valid Better Access Mental Health Care Plan, or for clients utilising the Bushfire Recovery Access Initiative.
It required the tireless efforts of many dedicated people and successive EMDRAA Boards over the years, but finally, EMDR therapy gained the recognition it deserved and increased clients’ accessibility to this treatment under Medicare.