Psychology leaders complete 300 visits to members of Congress in one day
Psychology leaders asked members of Congress to pass the “Medicare Mental Health Access Act” (H.R. 1173, S. 448), bipartisan legislation that would allow psychologists to practice independently without physician supervision in all treatment settings under Medicare. The legislation is sponsored by U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., in the House and by Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Susan Collins, R-Maine in the Senate.
If enacted, the Medicare Mental Health Access Act would remove a roadblock to mental health treatment for Medicare beneficiaries in certain treatment facilities. Although psychologists are licensed to practice independently in all U.S. states and jurisdictions, Medicare still requires unnecessary physician sign-off and oversight of their services in some settings, hampering or even preventing delivery of needed care. Passing the act would also remove this barrier by adding clinical psychologists to the list of providers in Medicare’s definition of a “physician,” which already includes podiatrists, chiropractors, optometrists and dentists. Psychologists are the only doctoral-level providers not included. Additionally, psychologists would be eligible for 10 percent Medicare bonus payments for services delivered in federally designated mental health professional shortage areas.
For more information, check out the Medicare Mental Health Act fact sheet (PDF, 616KB).