Volume 20, Number 51 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MAY 2 - 8, 2008

Residents eligible for 9/11 mental health payments

By Sebastian Kahnert

The city Health Department has just introduced a new benefit program for people still struggling with mental health problems connected to 9/11.

New York City residents or family members of those who lost a family member, were seriously injured, or lived below Canal St. will be reimbursed for outpatient treatment with no limit. Also, students who were enrolled in a school near the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, as well as their parents, qualify.

A second group comprises people who have psychological symptoms that may be related to the attacks. Those patients will be screened at no cost by the Mental Health Association to find out whether they’re eligible; however, their outpatient treatment is limited to $3,000.

Both groups are reimbursed for medication and laboratory work related to mental health and substance-use treatment with a $1,500 limit, and up to eight hours of psychological evaluations and testing for children age 21 and under.

To receive reimbursement, patients have to submit a completed claim payment request form and a copy of the explanation of benefits from their insurance company. Patients without insurance have to submit a receipt from their provider’s office for the payment they’re seeking reimbursement for. Completed claims are paid within two weeks of receipt, said Sara Markt, a Department of Health spokesperson.

Enrollment is open and reimbursement for mental health and substance use service is retroactive to January 2, 2007.

The program, which is funded by the city, does not cover impatient services, emergency-room visits, acupuncture, expressive therapies, and missed appointments. Mental health care must be provided by a New York State-licensed professional and people with insurance must first apply their insurance benefit toward the cost of the treatment.

If the provider’s fee exceeds the reimbursable amount for a given service, the patient will be responsible for the difference.

Patients can enroll by calling (877) 737-1164 or (212) 982-5284. To check eligibility or to download the Claim Payment Request Form, go to www.nyc.gov/9-11mentalhealth.




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