Treatment cycle information for GPs

Last updated: 
28 July 2020

As a general practitioner (GP) you can refer our clients to an allied health provider if they have a clinical need. You will need to follow the treatment cycle. The treatment cycle reinforces your key role as our client’s care coordinator.

What is the allied health treatment cycle

Known as the treatment cycle, this is a way to refer our clients to allied health providers. A referral to an allied health provider will last either 12 sessions or 1 year, whichever ends first. Clients can have as many treatment cycles as you decide are clinically necessary. These arrangements ensure the health care is the most appropriate for our client’s needs.

As our client's GP, you will work with our client to find the most appropriate allied health provider.

You will refer our client to the allied health provider who can both:

  • meet our client's clinical needs
  • meet our client's treatment goals

 

The image is a pictorial representation of the treatment cycle, which is described by the preceeding text.

Services covered by the treatment cycle

Allied health services covered by the treatment cycle are:

  • chiropractic
  • clinical psychology
  • diabetes education
  • dietetics
  • exercise physiology
  • neuropsychology
  • occupational therapy
  • occupational therapy (mental health)
  • orthotic services
  • osteopathy
  • physiotherapy
  • podiatry
  • psychology
  • social work
  • social work (mental health)
  • speech pathology

Before treatment

You should talk with your client about their health and wellness goals. If an allied health provider will help your client reach their goals, you can still refer them to either:

  • an individual allied health provider
  • an allied health practice

Your referral should specify the condition or conditions that the provider will treat.

You can still refer clients to different providers when they need it. A client can have a treatment cycle with more than 1 provider at a time.

You may need to write a new referral if our client has had a long break between treatments. The allied health provider will determine if our client needs a new referral.

After treatment

When the treatment ends, the allied health care provider will send you an end of cycle report.

Based on the report from the allied health provider, you and our client may decide that:

  • our client needs another treatment cycle
  • our client does not need another treatment cycle

If our client needs another treatment cycle, you can write them another referral and the cycle begins again.

Clients can have as many treatment cycles as you decide are clinically necessary.

The allied health professional may send the end of cycle report to you earlier if our client:

  • has treatment appointments close together
  • lives in a remote area

This allows time for you to review the report before our client’s next appointment.

Our client may need less than the full 12 treatments. In that case, the provider can prepare the report after at least 2 treatments.

When the treatment cycle does not apply

The treatment cycle does not apply to clients with a Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Gold Card when you refer them to either:

  • physiotherapy
  • exercise physiology services

The treatment cycle will apply if you refer a TPI client to other allied health services, such as:

  • occupational therapy
  • podiatry
  • psychology

When the treatment cycle is unsuitable for your patient

Some clients may benefit from a more tailored referral arrangement specific to their needs. This is done through the At Risk Client Framework.

A client may benefit from the At Risk Client Framework if they have all or some of the following factors:

  • complex psychosocial factors
  • severe health needs
  • severe functional impairment 

Under the framework, clients can have tailored arrangements for 3, 6 or 12 months. You could also refer our client to the Coordinated Veterans's Care (CVC) Program.

If you believe your client needs extra treatment, you will need to:

The assessment form is not a request. We do not need to approve it before you can refer your client to a health provider.

At the end of our client's referral period, you should review their condition to determine:

  • whether another tailored arrangement is appropriate; or
  • whether they should return to the treatment cycle requirements

If you believe our client should remain on the framework, you will need to submit another form.

More information

More information is available in the following documents:

Resources and publications

We have published a number of resources to help you to understand and explain the treatment cycle.

Leaflets for our clients are also available:

We sent this to GPs who have treated a DVA client during 2019:

Treatment cycle resources

Visit Notes for providers for up to date Notes for General Practitioners.