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The aim of this policy brief is to outline the necessity and value of strengthening the Mental Health Act that was passed in the 115th Congress at the moment. In order to expand access to Mental Health services under the Medicare initiative, the following brief addresses the need to update Title XVIII of the social security act. Clinical social workers claim to be the largest group in the United States providing psychiatric care. Medicare compensates them for 75% of what psychologists and psychiatrists get (Cooper, 2009). It demoralizes and discourages them from delivering their services to the fullest. It has even been a challenge containing them in the Medicare sector as many of them opt out for better remuneration elsewhere (Naylor et al., 1999). This is very detrimental to the Medicare system as this lot plays a huge role in the health care system, thus their reimbursement needs to be reconsidered and raised to 85% of the fee schedule meant for all physicians (https://www.flsenate.gov/Session). If this is done, then the Health care system will reclaim sanity and better services.
The mental health care act proposes for funding and support of Improving Access to Mental health care act of 2017-06-19 (H.R. 1290). The following bill which was introduced by Ms. Lee brings forth an improvement in the ones benefiting from the Medicare health act in the following ways:
It ensures the recipients get access to Health and Behaviour Assessment and Intervention, which are services offered by the Clinical Social Workers (https://www.healthaffairs.org/healthpolicybriefs/).
The Medicare compensation for Clinical Social workers will be raised to 85% of the physician’s fee schedule thus promoting entire access by the people to the Clinical Social workers.
Stakeholders should be aware that, a lack of increase in the CSW’S would deprive most individuals of their services. This would be detrimental to the entire mental health care sector as most people require their vital services. Implementation of the increase in reimbursement will definitely evade all the controversies above.
The National Association for workers has the same view on the increase in the rates of reimbursement of CSW’S; they are working so hard to get rid of the obstacles leading to access of services by the Clinical Social Workers.
The following bill should prioritize Clinical Social workers who adhere to the following:
A Master in Social work degree or doctorate from a school with accreditation.
They must possess a clinical license or certification from the state of practice.
They must obtain a National Provider Identifier Number, and have malpractice insurance (Naylor et al., 1999).
For this bill to be passed, it has to go through the Senate and the House of Representatives then lastly signed by the head of the state.
It is recommended that the compensation rates of al Clinical Social workers be revised to at least 85 percent of the fee for physicians to enable the efficient working environment for them, thus offering better services to the people. The recommendation better solves the current health crisis because Clinical social workers happen to be the largest group offering medical services in the United States. Medicare compensates them 75% of what is given to the psychologists and psychiatrists. This demoralizes them and deters them from offering their services to the maximum.
Cooper, R. A., Getzen, T., Johns, M. M., Ross-Lee, B., Sheldon, G. F., & Whitcomb, M. E. (2009). Physicians and their practices under health care reform. Physicians Foundation.
Florida Senate: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session
Health Affairs: https://www.healthaffairs.org/healthpolicybriefs/
Naylor, M. D., Brooten, D., Campbell, R., Jacobsen, B. S., Mezey, M. D., Pauly, M. V., & Schwartz, J. S. (1999). Comprehensive discharge planning and home follow-up of hospitalized elders: a randomized clinical trial. Jama, 281(7), 613-620.
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