American Heart Association supports reimbursement for psychologists as part of primary care practice teams

The recommended policy changes would allow insurance companies to reimburse psychologists and others who treat behavioral issues for their services.

A new American Heart Association (AHA) policy statement recommends that rules for inter-professional medical practices be revised so that psychologists and others who treat behavioral issues can be reimbursed for their services. “Insurance reimbursement policies need to be improved so that registered dieticians, psychologists and others can become part of the primary practice team and health care providers should treat behaviors like smoking and unhealthy body weight as aggressively as other heart disease risk factors,” the statement says.  

“This isn’t a problem that can be solved alone by the patient or the doctor who is strapped for time,” said Bonnie Spring, PhD, lead author of the association’s statement. “We need to break out of our silos and get ahead of the curve in prevention.”

The “inter-professional practices” that the AHA recommends would help connect patients with psychologists and other behavioral specialists as well as implement the association’s five-step process for caring for patients.