The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury have invited public comments through a Request for Information (RFI) under the Wellstone – Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Many professional biofeedback/neurofeedback organizations, such as ISNR, AAPB, and BCIA, have urged their members to take immediate action.
This presents a unique opportunity for you to advocate for insurance coverage for neurofeedback at the federal level! This difficult task can be accomplished through hard work and organized efforts. Cynthia Kerson, Executive Director of ISNR, pointed out in a letter to members that Texas insurance companies must consider paying for neurofeedback-based treatments of traumatic brain injury since 2001 because of professionals who took similar actions as being requested today.
What can you do? Complete and submit the letter (written by Lynda Kirk) at the end of this post (downloadable Word document also available). Or you can write your own letter. I have also provided a link to the government website where you will need to submit your comments. Act now as the deadline for your response is May 28th (next Thursday).
- Easy to send letter in Word format is here.
- Formally submit your comments/letter here.
- The federal announcement/request for your comments is here.
- The Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity Act of 2008 as approved through the Act of the United States Congress can be found here.
Here is a copy of the letter for you to submit (feel free to copy and paste this into a format of your choice):
Comments Regarding Regulatory Guidance USCG-2007-27022 page 19157, II B specific areas 1 and 4
I am a (insert your profession) who provides neurofeedback treatment to individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Mood Disorders. Neurofeedback is an empirically validated and widely recognized effective non-medication treatment for ADHD, as well as other conditions. There are over 50 studies evaluating the effectiveness of neurofeedback in the treatment of ADHD, substance use disorders and Autism. A recent review of this literature concluded “Neurofeedback meets the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry criteria for Clinical Guidelines for treatment of ADHD.” This means that neurofeedback meets the same criteria as medication for treating ADHD, of which 60% of prescriptions are in fact prescribed “off label,” and that neurofeedback “should always be considered as an intervention for this disorder by the clinician.”
This service has been denied by Georgia Medicaid, Aetna, United Behavioral Health, Blue Cross, Cigna, and Amerigroup.
This is limitation of an effective and validated treatment for a mental health problem. The reasons given by the insurance companies for this denial fell into two categories: 1) our company does not cover biofeedback for mental health problems or 2) there is not yet sufficient evidence for the efficacy of neurofeedback. As such, they are using evidence-based criteria that are far more restrictive for mental health services than the criteria which are used for medical/surgical services. There are many routine medical and surgical procedures which have far fewer controlled studies about their efficacy than does neurofeedback. These medical and surgical procedures are generally not limited because of concerns about how many controlled studies have been performed about them.
We believe that the parity regulations, based on legal reviews of the parity statute should require that employers and plans pay for the same range and scope of services for behavioral treatments as they do for medical surgical benefits and that a plan cannot be more restrictive in their managed care criteria and reviews for mental health and substance abuse disorders when compared to medical surgery. Today plans are being more restrictive in how they review evidenced-based mental health and Substance Abuse Treatments when compared to medical surgical treatments. This violates both the intent and letter of the parity statute and we hope that the regulations will clarify that this can’t continue.