There have been several requests for language to send members of Congress regarding the Medicare requirement that all patients be seen in-person at least once every 12 months. This would put patients and LCSWs at risk and CSWA is strongly opposed to this requirement.
There is a possibility that this requirement would only go into effect after the public health emergency ends. CSWA still opposes any in-person requirement, as it could have a disorienting effect on the treatment. There is no medical necessity for seeing a patient in person occasionally unless the treatment would be better served by in-person clinical work; seeing a patient once a year in-person would hardly be beneficial to the patient.
With these concerns in mind, CSWA offers the following suggested language for members to send their members of Congress (at www.congress.gov) to explain the problems with this requirement:
“I am a constituent and a member of the Clinical Social Work Association. The over 270,000 licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) are the largest group of mental health providers in the country and provide mental health services to Medicare beneficiaries.
I am writing because Section 123 of the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule has a requirement that LCSWs must see patients at least once a year in-person. The only way I can safely see my patients currently is virtually, as I have been since the pandemic began in March 2020. This has worked well for most of my patients. It would be a hardship for me to maintain an office for a once-a-year meeting, and an intrusion into the virtual treatment for my patients.
This requirement should be eliminated so that I can continue to provide services to the over 50% of our citizens suffering from emotional distress. Please oppose this requirement so that I can continue to help all those suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other difficulties in these perilous times.”
Feel free to use your own words. As always, let me know when you have sent your messages.
Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director Policy and Practice
Clinical Social Work Association firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 105Granville, Ohio 43023