CMS changes ease access to 250,000 mental health providers for Medicare beneficiaries

Medicare payment policies taking effect in 2024 will make around 250,000 more behavioral health providers available to older adults, according to an analysis from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. 

Beginning in 2024, CMS will allow marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors to bill Medicare for their services. Drug and alcohol counselors who meet the requirements to be mental health counselors will also be able to bill Medicare. 

The expansion will be especially important in rural areas and areas with a shortage of behavioral health providers, Clese Erikson, deputy director of the Health Workforce Research Center at the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University, said in a Nov. 28 news release from the Milken Institute. 

"Medicare's expansion in the workforce will help seniors find much-needed care for depression and other mental health needs," Ms. Erikson said. 

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