Amend the No Surprises Act of 2022 regarding Private Practice Mental Health Clinicians

Amend the No Surprises Act of 2022 regarding Private Practice Mental Health Clinicians

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Ashley Hertzog started this petition to President Joseph R. Biden and

Recently Congress passed a bill entitled the No Surprises Act of 2022. While the spirit of this Act is positive, ensuring individuals do not receive a medical bill from a hospital or medical facility for thousands of dollars, it also should be amended as to Private Practice Mental Health Professionals/Therapists (including the following: LPC's, LMHC's, LMFT's, LCSW's, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and provisionally licensed therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists). This bill was a broad sweep of all Federal or State Licensed Healthcare Practitioners without a full understanding of our ethics, our current billing procedures for out-of-network clients or how our practices work in Mental and Behavioral Health. In private counseling practices (often made up of sole practitioners or small groups of therapists without admin staff) where clients opt to self-pay, do not have insurance and pay out-of-pocket, or the therapist is out-of-network, fees are always disclosed up front and agreed upon by the counselor/therapist and the client prior to services commencing. Along with the fee being disclosed, the insurance network status of the therapist is always disclosed before services commence as well. These private pay clients pay at the time of each session and there are never surprise fees. We already have very strict ethical guidelines that we adhere to with our boards and are required to provide informed consent/disclosures regarding fees prior to services. This new law creates unnecessary obstacles for this particular profession as we already follow strict guidelines. The only time there seem to be surprises for both us as clinicians and for our clients is when dealing with insurance companies who suddenly decide to deny claims for in-network therapists and clients, which this Act does not even address. In fact, the way the bill is currently written seems to favor in-network providers and insurance companies, when many consumers opt not to use their insurance for mental health for confidentiality purposes and to avoid these surprises from insurance companies. In addition, many of the requirements of the Good Faith Estimate are unethical for a therapist to engage in. For instance, the GFE asks for a diagnosis up front and it would be completely unethical for a therapist to diagnose a client without ever meeting them. We stand firm and united that we will not diagnose an individual with a mental health condition without ever meeting or assessing a client first and believe we would have support from our boards. Many clinicians prefer not to provide formal diagnoses for ethical reasons and many consumers do not want a formal diagnosis in therapy and can be treated without one, yet the GFE requires one up front. In addition, it would also be impossible and unethical to determine the exact length of treatment for a client without working with them first, thus making it impossible to let clients know exactly how many sessions they will need on the GFE. Treatment changes throughout the process as well, often with new issues arising during the course of treatment, making it impossible to say the exact number of sessions. These same ethical issues exist for supplying a GFE to an insurance company for in-network therapists as it has been stated will be coming next. Please amend the No Surprises Act of 2022 and the Good Faith Estimate requirements for Mental Health Practitioners/Therapists in small private practice offices. This bill should be directed at those facilities who engage in this type of unethical and surprise billing, not private practice mental health professionals who take self-pay clients and disclose their rates up front already. Mental health clinicians are needed now more than ever and this adds a layer of bureaucracy and confusion that is not necessary for this level of practictioner in this field and may become a barrier to people getting the help they need. Amend the Act to make common sense for this particular profession or exclude us from the Act completely as it currently does not make sense for our level of practice and requires us to engage in unethical practices. Mental Health Clinicians need more support and better understanding of our profession at this crucial time, not more barriers to care for our clients. This bill was not written with any consideration for this profession, our ethics or our clients and their unique needs. Please Amend the No Surprises Act.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!
At 25,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!