Medicare, please reimburse for all of the Expressive Arts Therapy Services
This petition had 1,643 supporters
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
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