One of the biggest issues if the desire is to practice with any kind of medical scope, Medicare will pay a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in many cases, more than they will pay any Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and in some cases they will not pay an LPC at all. Many LPC’s are able to practice under the umbrella of community mental health agencies and in that aspect, they are able to take Medicaid for payment. However, once licensure is complete, many states will not bill for mental health services to a private LPC practitioner under Medicaid services (Sturm and Gibson, 2012). There is a gross discrimination here that often leaves the poorest and those most in need of services out in the cold (Sturm & Gibson, 2012). In many cases, professions such as the LCSW are looked at in higher regard than LPC’s and sadly, a large amount of people who are in need of services are left wanting (Dumesnil, 2014).
The Management of Mental Health Services and Programs
When you are involved in private practice is it is important to keep in mind that you are like an all-in-one service provider. Often you will be working alone and you will not have the luxury of a billing department; therefore you have be in the know about the rules and regulations as they change (Dumesnil, 2014). There are many differences between being a cash only provider and one that accepts insurance. When you work for an agency, things such as billing need to be included with your productivity hours, and you are able to bill clients with no call/ no show status. In the insurance accepting private sector, you often cannot bill in these scenarios and you have to take the financial loss.
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...e Medicare limitations as to where people can receive their mental health services. Anytime there is a city wide push to get services, it seems to all end up going through large agencies like North Range Behavioral Health (NRBH) in Greeley (Dumesnil, 2014). Private practice counselors are not often offered to take part in such programs. Agencies like NRBH receive additional funding in order to assist larger populations, so smaller practitioners struggle to services those populations whose finances are minimal. By networking through conferences, counselors are better able to stay abreast of the issues that affect their practice at the local level (Locke, 2012). Getting involved is the first step to understanding the quality and accessibility of mental health services so that a solitary practitioner can be informed well enough to participate in advocacy movements.
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