More mental health choices coming to Tricare

Tricare subscribers now have access to an expanded mental health benefit, the organization announced.

Beneficiaries now will be able to select between two kinds of counselors—independently practicing Tricare-certified mental health counselors (TCMHCs) and supervised mental health counselors (SMHCs).

Tricare will authorize independent providers who meet set qualifications—they must have a master’s degree from an accredited mental health counseling program, and have passed the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination by Jan. 1, 2017.

TCMHCs can independently treat beneficiaries, but supervised counselors will continue to practice under the referral and supervision of physicians authorized by Tricare, the organization said.

Patricia Moseley, a, military child and family behavioral health senior policy analyst at the Defense Health Agency, noted that Tricare will continue to authorize SMHCs as Tricare providers indefinitely so that current beneficiaries can continue to receive care from the counselors they now use—whether that provider is an SMHC or a TCMHC.

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