Improve Access to Mental Healthcare by Paying Trainees

July 18, 2022

Access to mental healthcare in the US has been a growing issue for decades, only made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the slow trickle of trainees is far from sufficient to bridge this gap. Instead, at the current rate, there will be 14,000 less psychiatrists practicing in 2030. In a new Health Affairs article, authors discuss how paying trainees for the care they deliver could support efforts to reverse this troubling trend.

According to , “If Congress wants to enlarge the mental health workforce, it should support the educators that develop these professionals. Specifically, reforms should bring billing rules for psychotherapy (talk therapy) provided by trainees on par with the billing rules for trainees in other medical specialties. Second, Congress should require all payers to reimburse bedside clinical teaching using a service modifier on the mental health code billed by a teaching practice. If Congress builds a financial environment that supports clinical teaching, training programs will multiply. Pursuing workforce policy through payment reform, as opposed to grants, ensures the policies are sustainable and scalable.”

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(Source: Health Affairs, July 18th, 2022)

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