At its conference in October 2013, members of the Wyoming Counseling Association (WCA) kick started the discussion about state-issued Medicaid reimbursement rules, which required a medical doctor or psychologist to sign off on services provided by licensed therapists. Because of the rural nature of our state and challenges in receiving consistent and quality supervision from medical doctors and psychologists, allowing licensed therapists to bill Medicaid directly would increase access to mental health services for our poorest and disabled citizens. In December, the WCA rallied the four groups of licensed professionals (LPCs, LCSWs, LMFTs, LATs).
Wyoming is a large state with the lowest population. We are lucky to have personal relationships with our legislators. Eighty-two days after meeting with Senator Bill Landen (R-Natrona County), the Wyoming Legislature passed SF 89 Health Professionals – Medicaid Billing, which removes a layer of bureaucracy and allows licensed therapists to bill Medicaid directly. Governor Matt Mead signed the bill on March 10, 2014.
This was a collaborative process with all licensed groups involved. Legislators received MANY emails from across the state and personal testimony before legislative committees. We emphasized increased access for clients and the level of education for licensed therapists. In order to become licensed by the Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board, all four groups have Master’s degrees, 3000 hours of supervised experience, and continuing education requirements.
Although this was an 18-day budget session of the Wyoming Legislature, miracles can happen!!