Information alert dated October 25, 2013 from APAPO is available here:
More “Talking Points About Psychology”:
- Clinical psychologists are major providers of Medicare mental and behavioral services. They provide Medicare beneficiaries with critical mental, behavioral and substance use disorder services including psychotherapy, psychological and neuropsychological testing, and health and behavior assessments and interventions. They are among the most highly educated healthcare professionals with an average seven years of graduate school.
- Clinical psychologists are a primary if not the major providers of mental, behavioral and substance use disorder services to Medicare beneficiaries.
- Along with clinical social workers, clinical psychologists provide the vast majority of the mental health benefit to those elderly and disabled persons enrolled in Medicare.
- Plummeting reimbursement places Medicare beneficiaries in need of mental, behavioral and substance use disorder services in an increasingly dire situation, where they cannot get access to a provider of these services.
- Mental health access for Medicare beneficiaries living in rural areas is probably far worse. While clinical psychologists and social workers provide the great majority of mental, behavioral and substance use disorder services to beneficiaries, clinical social workers cannot substitute for psychologists as they do not have as extensive training in assessment or testing and they typically do not provide health and behavior services.
- Psychiatrists are simply not as available in rural and frontier areas.
- Clinical psychologists are highly efficient, with low over-head costs, typically working solo or in small group practices with few to no administrative or clinical staff. Under the current payment formula clinical psychologists are penalized rather than rewarded for doing so much with less.
- If clinical psychologists are forced to make such difficult choices it will become even harder for Medicare beneficiaries to access critically needed mental health services. As mentioned, clinical psychologists provide more psychotherapy services to Medicare beneficiaries than any other specialty.
APAPO submits comment letter to CMS on 2014 Physician Medicare Fee Schedule