If you’ve ever tried to arrange mental health care for yourself, or someone else, you may know what kind of struggle you are in for when you start that process. Finding a therapist who is taking new patients is the first struggle. Then there’s getting an appointment. For some folks getting there, or finding a good internet connection for a virtual appointment, etc. becomes the next struggle.
And we haven’t even started talking about insurance. That’s a whole other level of struggle.
That struggle is enough that many therapists don’t even bother with it any more. Now, you may think that seems rather callous, but if you think that, I want you to spend some time reading this article, and understand how difficult it is to run a business where you may spend more time trying to get paid than you do actually providing care, and what you would do in that situation.
This is, sadly, the reality for California, and I don’t think it’s better anywhere else in the US. As a mental health professional, it’s questionable if any individual insurance company will even accept you into their network. If they don’t there’s little chance you’ll get paid for seeing a patient with that insurance carrier. Even if you do manage to get accepted, that’s no guarantee that you’ll get paid at all, or that the insurance companies actual reimbursement rate will make sense for you financially. How many clients would you have to see at $75 per hour to pay for your office space, insurance, marketing, accounting, etc. and still make a living? In a large city in California, that’s going to be a lot of patients, and that’s assuming you get paid without any hassle or delays.
Yeah, that’s not happening either.
We often talk about the mental health care system being broken when it comes to treatment and patients, but I think this article opens our eyes a bit to the fact that it’s broken for providers too. Is it any wonder we have such a shortage of providers? Who would volunteer for this? We should be thankful for the people who do!