Berset wants better psychotherapists 2

Berset wants better psychotherapists

Access to and increase the costs of psychotherapy by health insurance should be facilitated. That was decided by the Federal Council.

Anna Wanner

Federal Advisor Alain Berset speaks at a press conference on the new regulation of psycho-psychotherapy in the context of compulsory health insurance. (KEYSTONE / Peter Schneider)

Federal Advisor Alain Berset speaks at a press conference on the new regulation of psycho-psychotherapy in the context of compulsory health insurance. (KEYSTONE / Peter Schneider)

About one third of the population is affected by mental disorder every year. Depression, addiction and anxiety disorders are among the most common illnesses. But access to therapists has not always been approved. "Especially for children and adolescents in crisis situations, there is often no room for therapy," Federal Adviser Alain Berset told reporters yesterday. "They have to wait six months for help." This situation needs to be improved psychotherapists have the ability to settle accounts through health insurance.

In this way, the Federal Council resolves its 40-year promise to improve the work of a psychotherapist. Today, they are linked to the delegation system. Whoever wants to pay compulsory health insurance can only deal with clients under the supervision of a doctor and in their rooms – and settle for cash. Anyone seeking treatment from independent therapists must pay the bill from their own bag or finance the treatment with additional insurance. Appropriately trained psychologists have long been obliged to treat themselves independently.

Cost of about 100 million

This should be possible by a physician's order – analogous to physiotherapists, nutritionists and speech therapists. This has the advantage of eliminating the doctor's financial interest: he no longer deserves therapy. However, the Federal Public Health Office (FOPH) assumes that the change imposes higher costs of health insurance in the short term. Since physiotherapy is charged for health insurance instead of a private wallet, the federal government expects additional costs of around 100 million francs.

The Federal Council wants to limit the cost increase with three measures: First, treatment must continue to be prescribed by a doctor. Secondly, a doctor may prescribe up to 15 sessions at a time. And third, the doctor must consult with the health insurance after 30 agreed sessions, before he can order more.

It should be saved in the long run

In the long run, FOPH not only hopes for better access to patients, as Director Pascal Strupler says. "Thanks to higher quality and better access, affected people can be treated faster, which has a positive impact on their health." The same is true of psychologists who consider the Federal Council's proposal to be "delayed". The Federation of Swiss Psychologists explains: "In today's delegation model, long waiting periods have to be accepted, which largely can not pay for their treatment." Gabriela R├╝ttimann, chairman of the Association of Swiss Psychotherapists, says: "Failure to treat mental health problems will soon result in chronic and costly hospitalization. Job losses are also the result of spending the economy on billions."