Get Psyched On This Problem

As if people with mental problems didn’t have enough headaches, a recent change in psychotherapy treatment codes has dumped a whole new layer of complexity on the plates of those needing treatment.

According to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, mental health professionals providing treatment are not being paid since the change because insurance companies claim that the changes are bigger and more complicated than was expected and companies are having difficulty setting up their systems to accommodate the code changes . 

And all of this is happening when there is a growing public demand for better mental health intervention.

Millions of mentally ill people are facing diminished care because their mental health providers are not being paid for their services.

The American Medical Association updates the codes annually.  Only 30 codes out of 8,000 or 9,000 were changed this time.  But those 30 changes, which had to do with mental health services and hadn’t been modified since1998, threw a monkey wrench into the system.

Worst of all, many of those who are hurt can ill-afford the stress and uncertainty of having their treatment affected.

With about 11.5 million Americans suffering from serious mental conditions, according to the WSJ article, and public demand growing for more and better interventions with the mentally ill since the recent spate of shooting massacres, these coding problems could not have come at a worse time.

The biggest worry of mental disability providers is that this coding chaos will affect care for their vulnerable patients.  With many insurance companies being unable to estimate when the coding problems will be fixed, it is anybody’s guess when some order will be restored to the mental health system.

In a field of treatment where one missed appointment may undo months of intense work, it is hard to foresee how far this glitch will set things back.

With a so much hanging in the balance, we urge everyone involved to get the lead out and get the mental health system working again.

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