The federal government gave the “green light”, when agreeing the overall budget, to reimbursing the costs of front-line psychological care. Some €22.5 million will be made available to this end. This was announced on Wednesday by the Minister for Health, Maggie De Block (Open Vld), in a communiqué.
Those with moderate mental health problems will soon be able to count upon the reimbursement of short-term treatment with a psychologist, or with a special needs clinician, within an interdisciplinary framework.
Ms De Block commented, “This is an important step for front-line mental health services.” She pursued, “The reimbursement of front-line psychological care for those suffering moderate mental problems will enable such patients to be treated more quickly. At the moment, they sometimes have to wait several years before they are able to get help.”
The Belgian Federation of Psychologists rapidly expressed its satisfaction in the light of this measure. The CEO of the Federation, Koen Lowet, said “We had not expected this.” He went on, “This measure proves the importance that the government attributes to the mental health sector. This also shows the strong collaboration between the federal government and community levels, who are indeed competent to organise front-line healthcare.”
According to the Federation calculations, the budget of €22.5 million will make possible reimbursement of 3 to 4 sessions per year for each patient.
Mr Lowet further stressed, “The measure falls along the same policy lines as the law on the mental health care professions. The aim of this law is to make psychological care more accessible to the population.”
However, The Belgian Federation of Psychologists is requesting that Minister De Block involves it in the process reimbursement. Its argument is that INAMI has more experience with general hospital care than specifically psychological care, so is not as well placed to administer the latter sphere.”
The system for reimbursement of front-line psychological care will not come into force before the end of 2018.