Psychotherapy with Older Adults

Working with a senior population has been satisfying and rewarding for me as a psychologist.  One might think that the therapeutic issues revolve around loss, adverse physical issues, death, and dying; however, it has been quite the opposite experience.  The focus is staying vibrant, healthy, and engaged with life and relationships.  My oldest patients are 95 and 100.  The 95-year-old drives, takes long walks with her dog, goes to the gym daily, and has no cognitive impairment.  My 100-year-old patient walks daily, attends symphony concerts, is politically active, and has an astute mind.

I currently have about 15-20 Medicare patients in my practice.  I find them reliable, likable, and often quite wise about life. They are typically on time and appreciate the opportunity to have someone to talk to.    Working with this population has genuinely been fulfilling.

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that many psychologists do not take Medicare.  When I need to make a referral because someone lives too far from my office, I have not found many colleagues who accept Medicare. I believe this is unfortunate and is a disservice to our senior population.  We owe them the opportunity to get good mental health care at a cost they can afford.  Most seniors have Medicare and secondary insurance, which covers the entire fee.  The current Medicare reimbursement rate for a 90837 code is $155.20.  The co-pay is zero for the patient with Medicare and secondary insurance.  Payment is quick and immediately deposited directly into your bank account.  

Please consider becoming a Medicare provider to service this growing population.  You will be rewarded with personal fulfillment and a sense of contributing significantly to your senior patients. They need good psychological care.

You can contact Medicare at 855-609-9960. Go to “General Information,”…then “Request Provider Enrollment.”  You will need your tax ID number, the last four digits of your social security number, and your NPI number.  Thank you for considering becoming a Medicare provider.

Barbara Czescik, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist practicing in Encinitas, CA.