The NASW Texas Chapter has announced findings from a survey that was sent to some of its members last June to evaluate the outcome of the chapter’s Clinical Reimbursement Project, which began in 2010.
Charlotte Cooper, the project’s director, said the Clinical Reimbursement Project began after chapter members who are licensed clinical social workers expressed concerns about decreasing reimbursement rates and policy issues that affected their practices.
“Rates have steadily decreased since the 1990s, with an increase in overhead due to inflation and additional requirements of practice, such as computers, programs, mobile phones, training costs,” Cooper said. “According to a 2011 survey conducted by the NASW Texas Chapter, after consideration of overhead, cost of health care, retirement plans and time away, a Medicaid provider was actually taking home about $10 per session.”
The survey showed increased reimbursements totaling $275,700 that resulted from project activities that occurred between January 2012 and July 2013, she said. The total includes $75,000 directly related to chapter activities, such as supporting providers who negotiated with third parties for a fee increase. Providers reported this as increasing individual income by $5,000 or more.
The survey was sent out not only to evaluate the outcome, but also the future possibilities of the project, which mainly focused on the following three areas: providing timely information about policy changes that affect reimbursements; direct intervention on behalf of members who had exhausted known avenues to deal with denials, rate decreases and recoupments; and effecting policy changes by payers to improve reimbursement.
Survey questions included:
- Did the Clinical Reimbursement Project increase income to Texas LCSWs?
- What activities were most helpful to the members?
- Would members recommend continuation of the project?
- If so, what are the recommended future initiatives of the project?
The chapter said the survey findings also show that the highest amount of reimbursement was a result of a combination of policy change due to NASW-Texas advocacy with state Medicaid and the regional Medicare Intermediary, as well as information or training from both the chapter and the NASW national office.
The NASW Foundation’s Ruth Fizdale Chapter Research Program provided funding for the survey. The program provides opportunities for NASW chapters to conduct pilot research projects targeted to a specific emerging issue. The pilot projects may then serve as cornerstones for developing more comprehensive research projects.
For more information on survey findings or on the project, email Charlotte Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org