Important Update: ACA Office Operating Hours

Dear members,

We would like to inform you of a change to ACA’s operating hours. ACA HQ will now be operating from 8am to 4.30pm (AEST), Monday to Thursday.

This change will take effect starting Monday, 22 August 2022.

We hope the new time will be more convenient for members. This change is also on account of training purposes to better service our members.

Members, you can contact us via email outside of these operating hours, and our dedicated staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

We greatly appreciate your kind cooperation and understanding.

ACA Contact Information

Address: Unit 2/42 Finsbury Street Yuggera Country Newmarket Qld 4051

Postal Address: P.O.Box Yuggera Country 88 Grange Qld 4051

Telephone: 07 3356 4255 or 1300 784 333

For all registration, eligibility, renewal & upgrade enquiries please email admin@theaca.net.au.

For all invoice, advertising & receipt enquiries please email accounts@theaca.net.au.

 

Technology Update: Telehealth

Article from: Counselling Australia Journal: Volume 23: Number 2 – Winter 2022 

Telehealth has been thrust into the mainstream since the COVID-19 pandemic limited physical access for many essential healthcare services. This created much-needed change in telehealth services – now with more people, from any location, having timely access to a broader number of healthcare services.

Bespoke telehealth software Coviu is one of the most widely used telehealth solutions in Australia, with over 90,000 practitioners using the software – but there are many other options for health providers. General video platforms like Teams and Zoom offer reliable and easy-to-use video solutions, and bespoke telehealth solutions such as Cliniko are tailored to suit health professionals.

We asked Coviu, the platform that has conducted over seven million consultations, to share tips for choosing a telehealth video platform.

Questions to ask when choosing a telehealth video platform:

  1. What function do I need this for now and in the future? Thinking about your goals in each subsequent step is important.
  2. Can I afford it now and into the future? What pricing options are provided?
  3. Can I try before I commit? Does the platform offer free trials?
  4. Does it meet Australian relevant laws and legislations? Check privacy and information security requirements at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
  5. Where is the data stored?
  6. Does it have the features and tools you need to conduct consultations?
  7. Does it work on the devices you use?
  8. Is the system regularly enhanced?
  9. Is there adequate support? Are users kept well informed about changes or issues?
  10. What is the uptime and availability like of the system? How fast is the system to use?
  11. What is the usability like? Is it easy to use without training?

Information for health providers about telehealth

Telehealth guidance for allied health professionals – Allied Health Professions Australia

Checklist for telehealth services – Australian Government

Telehealth – Australian Digital Health Agency

ACA meet with the Department of Health and Aged Care

Last Thursday, ACA visited the Department of Health and Aged Care for a special ARCAP (Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) meeting to discuss our recent submission to grant eligibility to Counsellors and Psychotherapists to provide Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) mental health services. Members can read the submission on the ACA website (or click here).

As part of the ARCAP delegation, we met with Mr Mark Roddam, First Assistant Secretary, Mental Health Division, Ms Anthea Raven, Assistant Secretary, Mental Health Access Branch, and Dr Ruth Vine, Deputy Chief Medical Officer.

We discussed a simple and effective proposal to improve access to affordable mental health care and how a cohort of highly skilled Counsellors and Psychotherapists stand underutilised. We also discussed in detail the extent of industry self-regulation necessary to ensure that MBS services are delivered safely and effectively, including: (1) the requirements that MBS Registered Counsellors and Psychotherapists would need to meet to be recognised as allied health professionals who are eligible to deliver MBS services and (2) the necessary regulatory oversight that the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists would provide.

This is just one of many meetings we have planned with the Department of Health and Aged Care to discuss granting MBS eligibility to Counsellors and Psychotherapists. We are proud to advocate on behalf of the profession and we look forward to the next meeting to continue this important work with the Albanese government.

About ARCAP

ARCAP is an independent, national Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists established by the Australian Counselling Association and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia.

All practitioners listed on the ARCAP Register have:

  • Completed professional qualifications in counselling or psychotherapy
  • Meet ongoing professional development requirements including clinical supervision of their practice
  • Abide by the ethical guidelines of the profession

Advocacy Win: ACA Registered Counsellors recognised as Mental Health Practitioners in Victoria!

You may have seen late last year, ACA worked with the Opposition in Victoria on a Bill to get Registered Counsellors and Psychotherapists added to the list of Mental Health Practitioners, which was then lost by one vote.

Today, with big thanks to the tireless support from Emma Kealy MP, a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill was announced, which will finally see the definition of a Mental Health Practitioner expanded to include Registered Counsellors!

This will mean that ACA Registered Counsellors enjoy the same level of access and recognition as the other disciplines and can transition into areas such as schools – unlocking an additional 2,000 qualified professionals for the mental health workforce. It will go a long way to relieving desperate workforce shortages and for existing staff that are fatigued from the extra demand on the sector as a result of the pandemic.

Although the changes won’t come into affect until September next year, this is a long overdue win for the better mental health of Victorians and sets a precedent for other States and Territories to follow suit.

In a media release Ms Kealy said “the Australian Counselling Association and their members should be proud of their tireless efforts to fight to be recognised for the positive contribution they can make for Victorian’s mental health”.

Click here if you would like to read more of Ms Kealy’s media release.

ACA is proud to advocate on behalf of the counselling and psychotherapy workforce, and does not rely on third party groups for advocacy. We look forward to sharing more good news with members.

ACA Sign Partnership Agreement with Australia’s Leading Government Relations Firm Hawker Britton

As of July 2022, the Australian Counselling Association entered an exclusive partnership with Hawker Britton, Australia’s leading government relations firm.

Hawker Britton offers unrivalled expertise in government lobbying and strategic counsel for organisations looking to work with Labor Governments and is ideally placed to assist ACA.

The partnership will assist ACA to work with the Federal Government to advocate and advance the profession of Counselling and Psychotherapy across several areas such as:

  • To develop and maintain relationships with relevant policymakers such as Ministers, Advisers, other Parliamentarians, and officials in the relevant Departments and Agencies
  • To provide strategic advice regarding the most effective mode of engagement
  • To organise and host meetings with relevant stakeholders at political and official levels
  • To alert ACA to policy/political developments relevant to your concerns
  • To build the profile and understanding of ACA among policymakers
  • To provide feedback regarding progress or otherwise towards agreed objectives
  • To assist with any additional projects that may arise moving forward
  • Assist in developing effective communications strategies tailored to the Federal Labor Government
  • Provide high level strategic counsel regarding the Federal Labor Government and relevant stakeholders
  • Facilitate appropriate discussions with relevant government stakeholders
  • Outline strategies for ACA to engage with of key decision makers and influencers

ACA will be working directly with Directors Simon Banks (Managing Director) and Emma Webster. Simon is one of Australia’s most highly respected government relations, campaigning, and strategic communications professionals. Since 2007, Simon has advised some of Australia’s and the world’s largest companies on significant commercial transactions requiring Commonwealth Government approvals.

Prior to joining Hawker Britton, Simon served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff to three Federal Labor Leaders and has been Federal Labor’s Director of Policy and a Senior Policy and Media Adviser to several Labor Ministers.

Emma Webster is a Director at Hawker Britton’s Victorian office. Emma has been a trusted Senior Adviser at the highest levels of Government, working for Government leaders at a State, Territory, and Federal level including for Premier Daniel Andrews and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

“ACA is proud to advocate on behalf of members and the profession, and we are excited for this partnership with Hawker Britton to open many more doors for us to continue this crucial work,” says Philip Armstrong ACA CEO.

“Advocacy is too important to leave up to third parties and other peak bodies. They simply do not have the same investment on outcomes and cannot directly influence change, particularly if they also advocate for competing disciplines.”

With over 11,000 members, ACA is the leading and largest peak body for Counsellors and Psychotherapists in Australia.