Clinician's Digest


Clinician's Digest

Left Behind: Counselors Seek Medicare Reimbursement

By Chris Lyford

May/June 2020


Matt Fullen is a clinician on a mission. Trained as a counselor, he never dreamed he’d be spending as many hours poring over survey responses and interview material as he’d be spending with clients. But these days, that’s exactly what’s going on. From his office at Virginia Tech, where he teaches clinical education, he’s plodding away at a particular project. To the outside observer, the work might seem monotonous. But Fullen’s passion for it is undeniable. And like most people with strong convictions, he has a personal story that explains the unexpected detour his career has taken.

In 2012, having received his master’s degree in clinical counseling two years earlier, Fullen was just getting his feet wet, working in a small practice in Ohio. His caseload comprised mainly older clients, a demographic he particularly enjoyed helping. But his work with one particular client he’d been treating long term felt special.

When Fullen met Jane, she was in her late 50s, suffering from a debilitating chronic illness that often left her anxious and depressed. Over the next year, the two experienced a number of breakthroughs together. Fullen not only listened compassionately as Jane explored the root of her distress—social anxiety—but helped her deepen connections with her family to create a strong support system. Outside…

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3 Comments

Sunday, June 21, 2020 1:58:22 PM | posted by Andy Hudak III
I am 68 and still loving to practice. As soon as I saw the headline, my internal voice said; "better lobby and politician ignorance". Not sure if you omitted on purpose, but the avg. cost per hour for therapy is usually less for a Masters level person as well. Even more so, when one looks at a client seeing a psychiatrist. I know this MAY be a completely distorted view, as I have no research to back me up, and, though I have met many exceptions, I want to say that, honestly, in 40 yrs of being a therapist, it has always appeared that the clinical skill level of professionals in our field often decrease as one rises in the pyramid of political and economic power. That's probably politically incorrect to say out loud, but I certainly have heard this numerous times by clients, friends, and other professionals (eg: nurses, teachers, etc.) that have had experience among different types of MH professionals.

Sunday, June 7, 2020 11:17:37 AM | posted by Joy Weston Arnold
Re the article: "Left Behind: Counselors Seek Medicare Reimbursement" Thank you so very much for this update. I have been concerned about this lack of coverage for LPCs, etc., for years. Yes, elder clients deserve our counseling services, and we counselors deserve this coverage. We have walked through many challenges along the way, in working toward validation of counseling, finally gaining licensure in all states of our USA, gaining coverage from all insurance companies, and now facing what hopefully is our last frontier. I look forward to your coverage of our gaining this final approval for Medicare to cover our licensed counslors!!! Joy Weston Arnold, M.Ed., NCC, LPC

Monday, May 11, 2020 7:55:28 AM | posted by Rita Klachkin
It’s about time.