June 13, 2019

With only one week remaining of New York’s 2019 legislative session, we are calling on our members in the state to support legislation — one for Medicaid and one for private insurance — that would expand access for New Yorkers to vital services of Licensed Mental Health Practitioners, including Licensed Creative Arts Therapists (LCATs)! Art therapists in New York State are licensed as LCATs, so this not only affects our profession but also the many diverse clients we serve.

If you reside or work in New York State, please urge your lawmakers to support these important bills expanding access to creative arts therapies. Our New York chapters, the New York Art Therapy Association (NYATA) and the Western New York Art Therapy Association have been rallying support in the state throughout the legislative session, but time is running out!

Medicaid Reimbursement Bills

A648/S3421 would make care and services provided by licensed mental health practitioners licensed under Article 163 of the Education Law (including LCATs, mental health counsellors, marriage and family therapists, and psychoanalysts) eligible for coverage under the State Medicaid program.  The bills have already moved through three committees in the Senate — Health, Finance, and Rules — and three committees in the Assembly — Health, Ways and Means, and Rules. The next steps would be votes in the Assembly and Senate respectively.

Private Insurance Bills

A670/S6212 would also expand coverage of licensed mental health practitioners’ services. The bills would require blanket health insurance policies to provide coverage for these practitioners in outpatient treatment, in addition to psychiatrists, psychologists and licensed clinical social workers, which insurers are already required to reimburse under the current law.

The Assembly’s Insurance and Codes Committees have already voted in favor of the bill. The next step would be a vote on the Assembly floor. The Senate version of the bill has not yet been considered.

AATA Joins NCCATA’s Letters

Today, the AATA joined our colleagues in the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations (NCCATA) in sending letters to key legislators urging them to vote for these bills before the session ends for the year on June 19th.

NCCATA sent letters to Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Temporary President and Majority Leader, and Assemblymember Carl E. Heastie, Speaker of the Assembly, urging them to schedule votes before the session ends on A648 and S3421. The Coalition also sent a letter requesting Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, to schedule a vote on A670 before the session ends.

Call to Action for New Yorkers

If you live or work in New York, we encourage you to write and call your State Senators and Assembly Members today! Please urge them to vote in support of these bills before the session ends on June 19th!

If you don’t live in New York, please share this Call to Action with your friends, colleagues and networks in the state!