There are many good organizations that advocate for the mental health community, but who advocates for the mental health professional?
- When was the last time you had a raise? Cigna, United Healthcare, Aetna, and most other insurance corporations have not significantly raised their rates for 90806/90834 in the past 15 years or more because universities are producing 14% more counselors every year than demand requires.
- Obviously, you cannot expect to see a raise anytime soon. You can expect to see a raise in office rent, insurance, supplies, business and personal expenses.
- In coming years you will offer more experience and will receive less compensation.
- Mental health professionals have no ability to negotiate with large insurance corporations. They make an offer and your choices are to take it or leave it.
We form an organization of professional counselors including LPCs, MSWs, Psychologists and any mental health professionals that are compensated by the big insurance corporation’s to create a collective voice to negotiate our rates of compensation.
- More than half of us speak collectively: “I will no longer take new clients from your company unless you are willing to raise your rates”.
Let’s be practical, a new organization is formed and a lot of money spent contacting people to join the organization. Marketing experts tell us that we would be lucky to have 3% join. If this is the case we will not have enough strength in numbers to succeed.
- This organization cannot be perceived as someone else’s organization that does the work for us.
In order to succeed this must be our organization that we organize, that gives us a powerful voice. The organization should require very minimal membership fees (probably about $35.00 annually), require that we vote to create a collective majority voice and require us to recruit our colleagues to also become members. With this type of member ownership the goal should be 80% not 3% and this will give us clout.
- The organization gives us a powerful voice.
- Negotiating decisions will be presented to the membership by e-mail.
- Members will then vote on the website with a voluntary commitment to support the majority.
- A representative then presents the insurance company this simple statement, “over half of your providers have committed to stop taking new clients unless you are willing to raise your rates of compensation.
- Assume we raise rates a very reasonable $15.00 per session. That translates to over $20,000 annually.
- This will not be a union, because insurance corporations will not negotiate with our organization. Every member or group remains an independent contractor. The organization only creates a collective voice.
- Counselors working as employees for groups or clinics are in a much better position to negotiate with their employer because their vote and participation increased reimbursement to their clinic or group.
- Other secondary benefits could be achieved. Check out the links on the right side of this page to explore other issues or present a new issue of your own in the Advocates Forum.
How do we proceed?
At this point no financial commitment is asked, only how do you feel about this proposal.
We cannot succeed, nor will we proceed, without evidence that Mental Health Professionals:
1. Want this organization,
2. Are willing to pay a modest annual membership fee
3. Are willing to vote and support the majority voice,
4. Are willing to be responsible for success by recruiting colleagues.
Please make your pledge to support the organization now.