CMS Releases Additional Guidance for MFTs and MHCs

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 expanded the range of behavioral health practitioners that can serve Medicare beneficiaries by allowing marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and mental health counselors (MHCs) to bill Medicare directly beginning in 2024. CMS included policies that would implement this in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule for 2024. The agency has also recently released a document providing answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the details of Medicare enrollment for these providers, along with how this relates to other topics including telehealth. MFTs and MHCs can help to address behavioral health workforce shortages in rural areas, with recent research finding a much smaller proportion of rural counties lacked counselors compared to any other behavioral health provider type.