Discover more from The Mental Health Digest
🤝Expanding mental health services for Medicare recipients
Your 09/25/22 update on all things social work
Good morning! ☀️
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Question: Which piece of legislation led to the creation of Medicare and Medicaid?
Legislation is being put in place that will expand the mental health workforce and strengthen Medicare’s ability to deliver mental health services to its recipients.
Let’s start with a bit of a primer.
Medicare is a government national health insurance program in the United States which began in 1965. It primarily provides insurance for Americans over the age of 65, however, it also includes some younger people who have disabilities such as end-stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The insurance currently provides coverage for about 60 million individuals.
Medicare is not to be confused with Medicaid. Medicare is a federal program, while Medicaid is a state and federal program. Furthermore, Medicare provides health coverage for those over 65 and who have a disability, regardless of income, while Medicaid provides health coverage for those with very low income.
Currently, the Senate Finance Committee is proposing changes to Medicare. These changes include:
Allowing licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) and licensed professional counselors (LPCs) to be reimbursed for mental health services
Allowing licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) to bill Medicare for health behavior assessment and intervention (HBAI) services, which are meant to ensure that behavioral health issues are not impacting physical health
Modify Medicare’s direct supervision requirements to make it easier for patients to see psychologist trainees
Add 400 new Medicare-funded residency positions to teaching hospitals for training new physicians in psychiatry and psychiatry subspecialties and provide funding of 4,000 new Medicare Graduate Medical Education (GME) slots for psychiatry residencies.
It’s great to see mental health care continuing to be prioritized by the government. Yet these changes also raise questions: Why can’t LMFTs and LPCs bill Medicare even though they have similar educational requirements as LCSWs? And on a more general level, will the government also push for necessary changes in housing and other domains that directly impact people’s mental health care?
Other social work-related news
Affordable housing as a human right: Activist and social worker Diane Yentel on the U.S. housing crisis, racial justice and democracy
Ex-USC social work dean pleads guilty in Mark Ridley-Thomas bribery case
Reads on research
1 in 4 Flint residents had PTSD 5 years after the water crisis
Benzodiazapines (BZD) are a class of sedative drugs used to treat anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. They have been known to increase the risk of pneumonia and death due to pneumonia. A recent study, however, found that BZD use was “not associated with the risk” of COVID-19 positivity, severe outcomes, or mortality, but it did confer a higher risk of need for hospitalization among COVID-19 patients, especially in those who had used BZD for more than 180 days.
Other reads on policy
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, called for insurers to face consequences when they run a “ghost network,” where providers are listed as part of the network but don’t offer care
Women in Texas face higher poverty rates, a result of policy choices and systemic barriers
Tech, social work, and cool opportunities 😎
Aumio is a Berlin-based mindfulness app for children claiming to be the “Disney for mental health”
Associate Director, Digital Health Operations at Planned Parenthood
Various roles at Arise
Licensed clinical supervisor at Flourish
Answer: The Social Security Amendments of 1965, which were enacted on July 30th, 1965, led to the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. The bill was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.