Nebraskan Lawmakers Fight for Online Mental Healthcare
November 10, 2017
With a shortage of mental health care providers to a growing population of Americans in need of mental healthcare, traditional health care models are simply falling short. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans have a diagnosable mental health condition. To address the ever increasing need, behavioral health providers are taking more steps to implementing a digital solution by offering to engage and connect with their clients online. Lawmakers are becoming increasingly aware of the solution to this crisis, with Nebraskan senators pushing for bills that request more access and less restrictions on providers seeking to augment their practice with online engagement solutions.
Increasing Access Across State Lines
One of the new bills proposed aims to add Nebraska to an existing interstate medical licensing compact. Under this bill, mental health professionals may provide care to clients across state lines. The compact allows a provider in a member state meeting certain requirements to receive an expedited license in another member state. Increasing the number of providers means more care provided to remotely located clients. These senators see the potential online engagement solutions can bring to these clients located in rural and underserved areas who are currently lacking the access to quality behavioral and mental healthcare.
Getting Reimbursed, the Push for Parity
Another bill proposed required all health insurance carriers to provide coverage for services rendered online. Nebraska is one of the minority states that do not have a parity law in place. Though the reimbursement is not mandated, many providers are still receiving reimbursement for online counseling or therapy services. If the parity law bill is passed, it would require by law any private insurer carrier to reimburse for your online sessions. The majority of the United States have already moved to legislation requiring this, including Texas, Virginia and Washington. Nebraskan lawmakers are seeing the need for mental health providers to connect with their patients online, and are paving a way for these same providers to be reimbursed in the process.