One million people have Parkinson’s disease in the U.S., and at least half of them may experience clinical depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. Depression and anxiety may emerge prior to the more classic motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, and these issues can complicate other symptoms and affect long-term outcomes.
There are more than 200,000 licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists in the U.S. Unfortunately, licensed mental health counseling services are not covered through Medicare, and therefore not reimbursed. Ninety percent of Parkinson’s patients receive health care coverage through Medicare and have no coverage for these providers. It’s time to change that.
It’s important to let Congress know about impact Parkinson’s disease has on a person’s mental health and urge them to support The Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 286/H.R. 945), which provides coverage for licensed mental health counselor services under Medicare.
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