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2012 Federal News

As many of our members know, AAMFT has been striving and struggling for years to persuade the VA to include MFTs in their mental health hiring practices. This week MFTs moved a big step forward, thanks to Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and AAMFT staff working with him. As a result, the VA included MFTs in its important announcement of hiring 1,900 new folks to address the mental health needs of vets and their families. The VA has not determined the numbers of clinicians from specific professions who will be hired, nor exactly when these jobs will be posted at www.usajobs.gov. Rather, VA has stated those issues will be determined largely at the local VA level.

Moran stated he was pleased that the VA announced it will be hiring more MFTs (and LPCs) but discouraged that it took the VA over five years to do so. He also encouraged the VA to hire these MFTs and LPCs as soon as possible, especially in rural states. Sen.

Moran’s comments start at 90:50 in the hearing. http://www.senate.gov/fplayers/jw57/commMP4Player.cfm?fn=vetaff042512&st=1218.

In what was the third Senate VA mental health hearing in the past year, the VA found itself continuing to answer questions about providing inadequate care, deception, and lack of filling mental health positions. The VA Inspector General (IG) could not validate any of the VA’s claims of treatment adequacy. The VA had claimed 95% of VA-seen vets with mental health issues (self-presenting or referred) received an evaluation within 14 days of presenting, but the IG found the actual percentage to be 49%, with the remaining 51%, experiencing a delay of 50+ days. The IG concluded the VA’s data for determining treatment adequacy is seriously flawed. The VA agreed with all IG’s findings and recommendations. Chairman Murray noted that IG had previously identified problems with this VA data in 2005 and 2007 and said she was “shocked” and “very, very troubled” by the continued lack of correction to these challenges. Clearly our Veterans are in need of services and AAMFT will continue to advocate for adequate services.

AAMFT is a tireless advocate for Veterans recognizing it is essential to make available the best care to them and their families. At the same time AAMFT realizes how important it is for MFTs to have fair employment opportunities. Although still a challenge, the recent events of creating access to MFTs is a triumph on all sides. We need to continue to push to ensure inclusion of MFTs, as promised! Thanks to AAMFT members for helping us to support Veterans and their families.

Federal Recognition of MFTs

Federal Recognition of MFTs


Medicare Fact Sheet

Legislative History of Medicare MFT Coverage

Congressional Sponsors of Medicare MFT Coverage Legislation


MFTs in Schools -- Fact Sheet


AAMFT Surveys FEHBP Plans on MFT Coverage (August 1999)


Useful Resources

Veterans Affairs

Veterans Access to Family Therapists (fact sheet) 

VA Marriage and Family Therapist Job Descriptions

Military/Dept of Defense

DOD Factsheet

Myth: MFTs aren't CHAMPUS/TriCare Eligible Providers

Mental Health Parity 

Mental Health Parity Act

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