S. 562 (Federal Medicare Bill)

S 562 is ”The Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2013.” It is the bill before the United States Senate that would allow for Mental Health Counselors (i.e., Maine’s LCPCs) and Marriage and Family Therapists to be providers under Medicare.

LCPCs participate on all private insurance panels, as well as Medicaid and Tricare. In fact, Medicare is the ONLY insurance that LCPCs cannot accept — but that’s a very big “only.”

Because we cannot yet bill Medicare, Mental Health Counselors are vulnerable to being turned down for employment at hospitals and agencies where Medicare is often billed (i.e., many if not most hospitals and agencies). Not being able to take Medicare is also the reason for recent unpleasantness around working with “dual-eligibles.”

If we want to be able to serve all Mainers, we need to be able to accept this last insurance. If we want new generations of Mental Health Counselors to be able to train at hospitals and agencies, we need to be able to take this insurance.

This is a bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and John Barrasso (R-WY). Both of Maine’s Senators — Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King — have signed on as co-sponsors. This bill currently has 8 co-sponsors.

 Click here for the the full text of the bill.

Click here for AMHCA’s advocacy of this bill.

Click here for ACA’s information about this bill. 

Action step: Everyone contact Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King to thank them for co-sponsoring this bill. 

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