Tell the Biden Administration to Protect Access to Psychological Services
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Note: All the action links above contain the same core requests to the Biden Administration. The messages' opening paragraphs have been tailored to reflect different perspectives, to make it clear to the Administration that these comments are being made by individuals, rather than an organization. State, provincial and territorial associations (SPTAs) seeking to submit organizational letters will receive a separate link for tracking purposes.
Why Is this Issue Important?
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) annual Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) proposed rule has serious implications across the health care field – including promoting equitable access to psychological services across all populations, ensuring fair funding allocations between physical and mental health services, and more. Researchers, clinicians, applied psychologists, educators and students alike have a stake in this rule.
Why? Because the Physician Fee Schedule often sets the benchmark for how other insurance programs cover and reimburse for specific services. It also sets the standard for how new and emerging forms of treatment are covered. This year’s proposal has consequential provisions that need improvement, including:
- Increasing the work values for psychotherapy services but not for psychological and neuropsychological testing services and Health Behavior Assessment & Intervention services. This would lead to underfunding of these essential services and negatively impact access to care.
- Restricting funding for Community Health Workers and Social Determinants of Health Assessments only to providers who can bill for Evaluation & Management Services. This would unnecessarily restrict the pool of providers who can offer needed population health services.
It also has positive provisions, reflecting input from psychologists last year, which might not become reality unless you speak up for them. These proposals will help promote access to mental health services, strengthen our ability to address patient trauma, respond to population health needs and more. They include:
- Continued reimbursement of telehealth services at the in-person rate when provided into the patient’s home.
- Expanding access to crisis services.
- Activating payment for behavior management training services for caregivers.
By sending a comment to CMS, everyone representing the fields of psychology and behavioral health can elevate psychologists’ voice and the key role psychologists play in mental health treatment.
Last year, psychologists comprised just over 50% of all comments submitted on last year’s version of this proposal. Thanks to your comments, this year’s proposed rule outlines policies that would not have been elevated without the unified voice of psychologists, including improving reimbursement for caregiving training and requesting more information on digital therapeutics. Please weigh in to build on last year’s success and ensure that favorable policies become a reality!
How Many Comments Has Your State Submitted?
The table below shows the final count of comments submitted through our action links by the deadline of 11:59pm EDT on September 11, 2023. We are grateful for every person who took action this year. Please contact Doris Parfaite-Claude if you have any questions.
Total comments submitted through our action links: 10,182.
|2024 Proposed Rule||Full text of the CY24 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule.|
|June 2023 Practice Update article||Article previewing what to expect from the proposed rule.|
|July 2023 Practice Update article||Article summarizing key components of the proposed rule.|