- Report Published -
|Reimbursement for Marriage and Family Therapists|
|Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits|
The Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor referred House Bill 1284 to the Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits (Advisory Commission). House Bill 1284 is patroned by Delegate James M. Shuler.
The Advisory Commission held a public hearing on August 3, 2000 in Richmond to receive comments on House Bill 1284. In addition to the bill's chief patron, two Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) and one person representing the Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (VAMFT) spoke in favor of the proposed bill. One of the representatives that spoke in favor is a current pastor of a Richmond area Baptist Church. Another was the current president of the Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapists.
A representative of the Virginia Association of Health Plans (VAHP) spoke, but was neither for nor against House Bill 1284. The representative stated that VAHP was neutral but had some concerns. The Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists provided written comments opposing House Bill 1284.
The VAMFT provided written comments in favor of House Bill 1284. Twenty other letters were received, including eleven from LMFTs, supporting House Bill 1284. The Advisory Commission concluded its review of House Bill 1284 on August 30, 2000.
SUMMARY OF PROPOSED LEGISLATION
House Bill 1284 was introduced by Delegate James M. Shuler in the 2000 Session of the General Assembly. House Bill 1284 amends and reenacts §§ 38.2-3408 and 38.2-4221 of the Code of Virginia. Section 38.2-3408 requires that if an accident and sickness insurance policy provides reimbursement for any service that may be legally performed by a person licensed in this Commonwealth as a chiropractor, optometrist, optician, professional counselor, psychologist, clinical social worker, podiatrist, physical therapist, chiropodist, clinical nurse specialist who renders mental health services, audiologist, speech pathologist, certified nurse midwife, or licensed acupuncturist, reimbursement under the policy shall not be denied because the service is rendered by the licensed practitioner. House Bill 1284 would add marriage and family therapist to the before-mentioned list of practitioners.
Also, § 38.2-4221 would be amended to read "A nonstock corporation shall not fail or refuse, either directly or indirectly, to allow or to pay a subscriber for all or any part of the health services rendered by any doctor of podiatry, doctor of chiropody, optometrist, optician, chiropractor, professional counselor, psychologist, physical therapist, clinical social worker, clinical nurse specialist who renders mental health services, audiologist, speech pathologist, certified nurse midwife, marriage and family therapist, or licensed acupuncturist licensed to practice in Virginia, if the services rendered (i) are services provided for by the subscription contract and (ii) are services which the doctor of podiatry, doctor of chiropody, optometrist, optician, chiropractor, professional counselor, psychologist, physical therapist, clinical social worker, clinical nurse specialist who renders mental health services, audiologist, speech pathologist, certified nurse midwife, marriage and family therapist, or licensed acupuncturist is licensed to render in this Commonwealth."
The proposed legislation would not add another service to the list of mandated benefits. The service of marriage and family counseling is not being mandated. However, the direct reimbursement of services provided by marriage and family therapists is being mandated. Essentially, House Bill 1284 would require insurers who cover services that can be rendered by marriage and family therapists, to reimburse when patients have sought help from LMFTs.