Legislative Alert from CSWA: Update on Medicare Cuts, December 23, 2011
Congress has delayed the pending Medicare reimbursement rates cuts, for two months until February 29th, 2012. This is the 12th time that Congress has postponed a cut to Medicare reimbursement rates since 1997. The amount of the proposed cuts were 27.4-32.4% for LCSWs.
This included Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) broad universal cut (27.4%) and the psychotherapy "extender" cut (5%). These numbers are slightly revised from the ones that I had yesterday. While we would have preferred to see a longer delay or, ideally, a change in the SGR formula, this is certainly better than the cuts that were being proposed.
Current News | Alerts
Legislative Alert from CSWA: Essential Benefits to be State Based, December 17, 2011
There is a new wrinkle in the implementation of "essential benefits" in the Affordable Care Act, which includes mental health and substance abuse coverage. Instead of creating a set of standards for what the essential benefits should include, DHHS yesterday gave states the responsibility to decide what the actual benefits should be. This means, for example, that a state could define a mental health benefit by outcome, number of sessions, diagnosis, provider type, or any number of other factors, which most states have already done in Medicaid benefits.
A mental health/substance abuse benefit must be included as an essential benefit. The importance of LCSWs making recommendations to their state on what adequate mental health benefits should include cannot be overestimated. CSWA has been developing a template specifically for this purpose and should have it ready by March of 2012. Standards for outpatient psychotherapy have been much less clearly defined than for inpatient mental health treatment. It is time for LCSWs to offer our views of what these standards should include.
Members In The News
Major Peter E. Bauer USAR MS, clinical social worker and member of the Texas Society for Clinical Social Work, has been recalled to service in support of the military operations ongoing in Iraq. Peter is a nationally known expert on PTSD in the military. In April of this year Peter did a presentation on PTSD at the 2006 Tri-Service Combat Stress Conference at Camp Pendleton, California, and he will be presenting again this year at the 2006 Uniformed Services Social Worker Conference in Arlington, Virginia on August 2, 2006. Currently Peter is working in the substance abuse program in the Dwight Eisenhower Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Georgia doing clinical assessments and treatment with patients, and training on relapse prevention for patients and staff. TSCSW is proud of Peter and of the contribution he is making to the understanding and treatment of PTSD and substance abuse in the military.