CHA Supports S.286 & HR 945 ~ Allow LMFTs to Be Medicare Providers for Mental Health Services

CHA Supports S.286 & HR 945 ~ Allow LMFTs to Be Medicare Providers for Mental Health Services

California Health Advocates submitted this letter in support of S.286 & HR 945 which would allow LMFTs to become Medicare providers for mental health services.


 

June 04, 2019

 

Honorable Congressman Mike Thompson and Senator John Barrasso

 

Re: Support for S.286 & HR 945 – Allowing LMFTs to become Medicare providers for mental health services

 

Older Americans represent one of the fastest growing populations of opioid addicts according to the Administration on Aging and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Addressing mental health first can alleviate the need for future, more expensive physical health treatments, including emergency room visits.

 

California Health Advocates stands with the following organizations that support H.R. 945 and S. 286:

– AARP
– National Council for Behavioral Health and Wellness
– National Board of Certified Councilors
– Western Governor’s Association
– The National Association for Rural Mental Health
– National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors
– American Mental Health Counselor’s Association
– Centerstone
– Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness

 

California Health Advocates (CHA), a non-profit organization founded in 1997, is the leading Medicare advocacy and educational voice for more than 5.6 million Medicare beneficiaries in California.

 

While currently Medicare beneficiaries can receive mental health services from Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), psychiatrists and psychologists, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists (LMFT) are excluded by Medicare for reimbursement. We believe that widening the options of professionals who provide mental health services to Medicare beneficiaries will improve their quality of life and that of their caregivers.

 

In many areas of the country, particularly in California, county mental health departments are the only entities that provide mental health services, yet are unable to obtain reimbursement from Medicare due to the exclusion of LMFT from approved providers. This is more noticeable in rural communities.

 

CHA supports the passage of H.R. 945 and S.286 as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue.

Sincerely,

Tatiana Fassieux
Consultant & Training Specialist

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.