ESTIMATING THE COST OF DIRECT REIMBURSEMENT OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY UNDER MEDICARE

Authors


  • Jacob D. Christenson, MS and D. Russell Crane, PhD, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Brigham Young University.

  • A Earlier versionof this article was presented to the american Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, November 2002. Portions were also presented at the 2003 Annual Conference of the AAMFT and the 2003 Annual Conference of the NCFR.

Abstract

In this article, we investigated the estimated cost to the Medicare program for covering psychotherapy services provided by marriage and family therapists (MFTs). Historical trends were identified by using psychotherapy cost and utilization data for the years 1999-2001. Using these trends, projections for the years 2002-2006 were made with MFTs included as providers. Employing this methodology, the 5-year estimated net increase and gross increase in cost due to the provision of psychotherapy services by MFTs was found to be approximately $10.5 million (or $2.1 million per year) and $13.9 million (or $2.8 million per year), respectively. This represents an increase of less than 1/2 of 1% of the Medicare mental health budget, and less than .0015% of Medicare expenditures overall.

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