Medicare, please reimburse for all of the Expressive Arts Therapy Services
  • Petitioned Medicare: Federal health insurance

This petition was delivered to:

Medicare: Federal health insurance
Medicaid: Massachusetts State health insurance
Massachusetts Governor
President of the United States
Massachusetts State Senate
Massachusetts State House
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives

Medicare, please reimburse for all of the Expressive Arts Therapy Services

    1. Cecile  Reve
    2. Petition by

      Cecile Reve

      Watertown, MA

Because Medicare currently does not reimburse for any of the Expressive Arts Therapy services, individuals who are non-verbal and poor cannot access this type of therapy, even though there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that when the use of imagination (right side of the brain) is combined with processing skills (left side of the brain), such as with visual art, dance, theatre, poetry, writing and music, these therapeutic tools or combinations of them are some of the best, and sometimes the only way to reach and support certain individuals. For example, most elders with dementia/alzheimer disease, do not benefit from talk therapy because they no longer can use and process language efficiently. Someone with a brain injury can also sometimes fall in that category (War veterans, or Gabby Gifford for example). But if we sing or dance or combine both, these people can self-actualize and connect the experience with muscle memory, and more conscious memories. In the same line of thought, a child with an expressive language disorder or learning disability (which includes many people with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and/or Selective Mutism), will not benefit from traditional verbal therapy, but can make progress with all, or combinations of the Expressive Arts Therapy services currently available. 

However, even if this type of treatment is called for, the person with Medicare (who does not have the financial means to pay a therapist out of pocket) will not be able to receive any Expressive Arts Therapy services, because none of the Expressive Arts Therapists currently practicing are able to get reimbursed for their services by Medicare. The law here is not matching the need, and the people are loosing access to great care, available care, and there is no rational reason for this given the overwhelming evidence of what type of support people are asking for and their mental health needs. Furthermore, there are many expressive arts therapists who are looking for work, and changing this law will not only improve the quality of mental health and medical care, but also suddenly create many new and stable employment opportunities. The way I see it, it will be everyone's gain to change this, and I can't think of one rational and reasonable reason why this rule should still apply.

"A dream will always triumph over reality, once it is given a chance."  - Chinese proverb

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 1,500 signatures
    2. Thank u all for supporting this historical change. We need more signatures!

      Cecile  Reve
      Petition Organizer

      Now we need to get our friends, family, and associations to partner up with us in making this happen. Together, we can definitely make this happen. Imagine all the people who can get relief, and imagine all the jobs that can be created thanks to your signature! Rarely does a change make only winners, lets make this happen!

    3. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Shannon Halligan ROCHESTER, NY
      • over 1 year ago

      Art Therapy plays a strong role in treating mental illness, disabilities and trauma. Please reimburse for services!

    • Katie Larson BURBANK, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      Governmental agencies such as the VA already approve art therapy as a therapeutic modality, why shouldn't this modality to be available to all citizens?

    • Anne Warren WI, WI
      • over 2 years ago

      I strongly believe that expressive arts therapies are important for behavioral healthcare for a broad range of patients. I have seen it work! It's not just coloring. It's expressing what's inside. Talking is not the only way to heal!

    • Kelly Anne Weaver NEWTONVILLE, MA
      • over 2 years ago

      Expressive Therapies are extremely effective and valuable and with insurance coverage, more people can experience the wide ranging benefits of Expressive Therapies.

    • Rhonda Stern STATE COLLEGE, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      As an art therapist, I have sadly had to turn some people with special needs away who have medicare and medicaid, because medicaid won't pay if medicare won't. My only concern is that reimbursement be a realistic amount - at least $60.00 an hour, and realistically more like $70.00, which reflects what master level therapists are usually paid by insurance...


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