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Important Info for NY Members

Posted under New York State Information by Kelly Snider on May 15, 2006 @ 9:05am

Please join together with your New York colleagues to ensure that your provider specialty is covered under insurance contracts. The following information is from an APA member who resides in New York.

New York State has currently provided for the licensing of four new mental disciplines, namely, creative arts therapy, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and psychoanalysis. The grandparenting period ended on December 31, 2005. The period of compliance with the new legislation whihc mandates that all mental health practitioners in New York State be licensed was extended to 2007 in order to accommodate the extraordinary number of candidates applying. It is anticipated that close to 10,000 people will be grandparented in this period and many more will apply as candidates become eligible under the post-grandparenting provisions.

The legislation which created the licensing was aimed at both assuring consumer protection and consumer choice in the mental health field. Each discipline is extremely valuabe as a modality and it therefore becomes important to communicate to insurers of mental health services the necessity of constructing contracts which open up and allow for a range of professional services.

Unfortunately in this early period of entering our new professional licesnes into the data bases of the insurers, it has come to the attention of some of us that roadblocks to reimbursement for our services exist. Particularly Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medicare have indicated that their contractual agreements do not allow for providers in New York State other than psychiatrists, licensed psychologists, and licensed social workers and that there is no current intention to include the new disciplines. It is still early to determine what other roadblocks may occur, but it is extremely important to assemble the resources ahead of time to challenge the status quo.

If you would like to become involved and/or need further information, please email me at kelly@americanpsychotherapy.com or call (800) 205-9165.

naomi sternberg on May 16, 2006 @ 8:35pm
How can I help innovate changes with BlueCross, Blue Shield? Let me know.
phyllis landres on May 17, 2006 @ 8:28am
We are currently working with the professional organizations in New York to determine what the next steps will be and will keep members informed as to how they can participate.
Kelly Snider on May 22, 2006 @ 8:33am
Here is a response to Phyllis from the AAMFT contact person:

My name is Roger Smith, Healthcare Specialist with AAMFT. Thank you for your message to AAMFT. My main task at AAMFT is to increase private payer recognition of LMFTs.

Effective January 1, 2005, New York became the 46th state to license Marriage and Family Therapists. In your message, you stated that you have been having problems with insurance carriers in New York. I do not have a list of insurance companies and other private payers that recognize MFTs. I have been told by MFTs in New York that some insurance companies operating in New York do not recognize MFTs. Since MFT licensure is relatively new in New York, it is probable that the plans with extensive operations in other states will be more likely to recognize MFTs than the plans that primarily operate in New York. What insurance companies have not recognized your MFT license?

Since New York recently obtained MFT licensure, some health insurance companies and other payers operating in New York might not be aware of the new state licensure law for MFTs. The New York Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (NYAMFT), the AAMFT state division in New York, is actively seeking to address this problem. NYAMFT will be initiating an effort to contact all major health insurance companies operating in New York and inform them of the new licensure law as well as the advantages of using MFTs. The NY division could use your help in this endeavor. The website for the NY division is http://www.nyamft.org/. I will be assisting NYAMFT in this effort as well.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Roger D. Smith, J.D.
Healthcare Specialist
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
112 S. Alfred St.
Alexandria VA 22314
Fax 703-253-0506

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