As the holidays come to an end and we begin a new year, it's time to focus on some important changes that are happening that impact social workers. Recently congress passed a Medicare $1.7 trillion spending bill. See below for the details:
The rule addressing working across state lines is for LCSWs who are Medicare paneled and working with Medicare beneficiaries. This does not apply to LCSWs who are opted out, or not opted in or out. The rule does not apply to commercial insurers. ~LWG
Medicare in $1.7 Trillion Spending Bill – Effect on LCSWs
December 21, 2022
Congress just passed a $1.7 trillion spending bill which has some impact on LCSWs through Medicare coverage. Now it is up to the President to sign it. Here are the ways that our practices will be affected if all these changes take place on January 1, 2023:
One more item – the Good Faith Estimate is supposed to be given to patients every year so look at when you gave your patients their first GFE and prepare to repeat the process.
UPDATE: Medicare Coverage and Parity Changes for LCSWS
There continue to be questions about the change to Medicare policy about treating patients across state lines. Different regions have different policies in this regard. Look at the section in yellow below and call your MAC to get information about a region you wish to practice in. Here is more detailed information on the telehealth changes: https://telehealth.hhs.gov/providers/billing-and-reimbursement/medicare-payment-policies-during-covid-19/
Telehealth Policy Changes
The federal government announced a series of policy changes that broaden Medicare coverage for telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Some important changes to Medicare telehealth coverage and reimbursement during this period include:
There is one more piece of good news in the omnibus bill. You may recall that when the parity act passed in 2008 there was a loophole that allowed public plans to opt out of having a mental health benefit at all. That meant that they did not have to have a benefit AT PARITY with medical/surgical benefits. That loophole has been closed in the omnibus bill. This means a million more people will have mandated mental health treatment. More information can be found at https://www.thekennedyforum.org/blog/these-major-employers-have-opted-out-of-providing-adequate-mental-health-addiction-coverage/
H.R. 432, Mental Health Access Improvement Act
The Mental Health Access Improvement Act passed as part of the omnibus bill. This means that LMFTs and LPCs are now Medicare providers. Their reimbursement rates will be 75% of psychologist rates, like LCSWs, or 80% of their usual and customary rates, whichever is less. This is possibly more than what LCSWs are paid and CSWA will be looking into keeping LCSWs at the same reimbursement level.
These changes were passed by the House this morning so the President should be signing the bill shortly.
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