Bipartisan bill appropriately reimburses Arizona social workers for treating Medicare patients—recognizing the services offered by social workers and expanding access to mental health care for Arizonans
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the Improving Access to Mental Health Act—bipartisan legislation that expands mental health care for Arizonans by fairly reimbursing Arizona social workers for treating Medicare patients.
“We’re expanding mental health care for Arizonans struggling during the pandemic by appropriately reimbursing Arizona social workers who provide critical, lifesaving care,” said Sinema, a licensed social worker.
Sinema’s Improving Access to Mental Health Act raises the rate at which Medicare reimburses clinical social workers from 75 to 85 percent of the amount that psychiatrists or psychologists receive. Sinema’s bipartisan legislation ensures Arizona social workers are compensated closer to what other licensed providers receive for similar or equal work.
Social workers provide more than half of all mental health services in the United States—especially in rural areas. Given the shortage of quality mental health providers in Arizona, there should be increased options offered for social workers, who often have a Master’s degree or higher, to work with Medicare beneficiaries.
Financial stress and isolation that many older Arizonans and others at high-risk creates even a higher need for more qualified mental health providers. Sinema’s bipartisan Improving Access to Mental Health Act seeks to improve options for social workers and expand access to qualified mental health providers.