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Tell Congress to Increase Social Work Reimbursement Rates and Access to Social Work Services

The Improving Access to Mental Health Act is much-needed legislation focused on increasing Medicare reimbursement rates for Clinical Social Workers (CSWs) and ensuring access to CSW services by Medicare beneficiaries. This important legislation has now been introduced in both chambers of Congress.

The Improving Access to Mental Health Act (S. 838) was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, MSW (D-MI) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and (H.R. 1638) was introduced in the House by Rep. Barbara Lee, MSW (D-CA) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

S. 838/H.R. 1638 will:

  • Increase Medicare Reimbursement Rates for CSWs: The bill provides a long overdue Medicare reimbursement increase for CSWs, thus assuring their ability to provide much needed services for Medicare beneficiaries.

  • Increase Access to CSW Services for Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Residents: Currently, independent CSWs whom the SNF does not employ are unable to seek reimbursement under Medicare Part B for providing psychotherapy services to SNF residents receiving care under Medicare Part A. This legislation will rectify this problem by excluding CSW services from SNF consolidated billing.

  • Provide Access to CSW Services that Help Medicare Beneficiaries Who are Coping with Physical Health Conditions: Although Health and Behavior Assessment and Intervention (HBAI) services are within the scope of practice for CSWs, Medicare currently will not reimburse CSWs for providing these services. HBAI services are cognitive, behavioral, social, and psychophysiological interventions to prevent, treat, and improve physical health and well-being. S. 838/H.R. 1638 would broaden the definition of CSW services to enable CSWs to receive Medicare reimbursement for HBAI services.

Contact your Senators and Representative TODAY and urge them to co-sponsor this legislation. Help them understand the mental health needs of Medicare beneficiaries in your community, especially in the ongoing and post-COVID-19 era, and how this legislation will help address those needs. Personalized communication goes a long way with a member of Congress.


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