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Vitale Bill granting Mental Health Workers more Flexibility in Biling, Reimbursement clears Senate

NJ – The Senate has announced legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Vitale, which would enable licensed clinical social workers and other licensed counseling providers to charge NJ FamilyCare directly for qualified services rendered to program participants.

Sponsored by Senator Joe Vitale the bill signifies a pivotal stride toward improving mental healthcare accessibility and support for practitioners. Its successful passage through the Senate underscores a bipartisan commitment to address critical issues within the mental health sector.

Under certain circumstances, the bill would require that claims for services submitted by an approved clinical social worker be accepted and reimbursed by the Department of Human Services’ Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, or by a managed care organization under contract with the division to provide medical services. Treatment services would not need to be provided through a particular facility.

These specialists’ skills are vital to the infrastructure and treatment of healthcare, especially when it comes to treating the mental health of low-income patients under NJ FamilyCare.

Senator Vitale, the chair of the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens’ Committee, stated,

"Giving these highly qualified professionals and counselors the ability to bill Medicaid directly will greatly improve our mental health treatment capacity and provide much-needed flexibility. This bill has the potential to significantly improve treatment access by ensuring that all patients receive the care they require at the appropriate time."

Senator Vitale

Several studies have demonstrated that the use of medicine and other health services may effectively manage a variety of mental health disorders. Despite this, mental health services in the United States are considered inadequate and generally more accessible to individuals with comparatively higher incomes.

While the CDC claims that just 3.4% of all American adults experience significant psychological distress, the Anxiety & Depression Association of America indicates that 8.7% of those who live below the poverty line do so. There are several reasons for this disparity, but Medicaid enrollees’ difficulties in obtaining mental health services are one of the main causes.

The successful advancement of the Vitale Bill in the Senate signals a significant step forward in reforming mental health care policies. As the bill progresses to the House of Representatives, its potential impact on improving mental health services and fortifying support for mental health professionals remains a key focal point for advocates and stakeholders alike.

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