I wrote to my Senator recently to complain about how LPCs (like me!) can’t bill MediCare. I’m not sure which aide read my letter, but he or she thought I was unhappy with how much MediCare PAID. I don’t even KNOW how much they pay! I just want to be able to help the elderly and disabled. Here is my response. I suggest you write something similar to your own representatives.
Dear Mr. Hensarling:
Thank you for your kind response. However, I think you misunderstand the point of my letter. I really don’t care how MUCH doctors get paid for MediCare. I care that I CAN’T bill MediCare because they won’t pay a Master’s level technician to deliver counseling services to the growing ranks of aged and disabled whom I serve.
I’m willing to take the measly $50 a session they probably pay, but I’d have to get an MD or PhD first. (LEGALLY, that is. Our government offices are so woefully inept I’d probably stand a good chance of getting paid anyway!) But I don’t live like that. I just want to keep on seeing the people I currently treat.
The disabled are being taken off MedCaid, which will pay me, and put on MedCare, which won’t. Those who age into MedCare are in the same boat. And they’re not happy about it. I took two heart-wrenching calls just today from clients who feel they are losing the only person they can trust and depend on.
These people are hurting and lonely, left behind by the rush of the world and forgotten. Either you give them someone to talk things over with, or you give them hospital (or jail!) time. I think you know which one is more expensive both monetarily and morally.
As for the indigent, they are being put on private plans (yea ObamaCare!) that pay nothing until a huge deductible has been met. I used to be able to treat them under the NorthStar program (essentially mental health MediCaid) which also provided medication and rehabilitative therapy at the local MHMR.
Now they are losing ALL of it. No doctor’s visit, no medication, no talk therapy. These are the seriously mentally ill! We are essentially cutting loose their safety net and telling them to handle their mental problems on their own without meds. I ask you, is it reasonable to demand a $6,000 deductible from someone taking in $10,000 a year? Again, we will see them at the hospital or the jailhouse.
Please use whatever influence you have to change this law! Allow Licensed Professional Counselors to bill MedCare for services. We are denying the most needy section of our society support which could make all our lives easier.
Susan Lautz, LPC