Psychology in Switzerland: “Thousands of people risk losing their place in therapy”

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Psychology in Switzerland“Thousands of people risk losing their place in therapy”

The new legal framework in Switzerland will create concern for many patients followed by a decline in continuing education.

That admissions for mental disorders increased by 26% for young girls and women aged 10 to 24 between 2020 and 2021.

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The transition to a new psychotherapy management system continues to be a problem in Switzerland. The complicated transition has already been created surprises in some patients in late summer. From now on, it is the issue of shrinks in continuing education that is at the center with the deadline of December 31.

Since 1 July, the new model has stipulated that patients, following a doctor’s prescription, can have their treatment covered by basic insurance from independent practitioners, without needing to be associated with a psychiatrist. However, there is an error due to the criteria in the new law (see box).

The criteria for disagreement

To be recognized in the new system, shrinks must have a recognized federal or foreign postgraduate qualification. They must also be able to demonstrate at least 3 years of clinical experience and practice independently. National Council member Pierre-Alain Fridez (PS/JU) pointed out in an interview in September that it is the second point that poses a problem: “Many general practitioners do not have these three years. At a time when our society recognizes the dire shortage of these types of practitioners, this problem interferes with the goal of simplifying law reform, and it is the patients who risk suffering because their follow-up may no longer be reimbursed.

“The services of future psychotherapists are therefore sometimes no longer covered by the funds”, says Urs-Ueli Schorno, spokesman for the Swiss Association of Psychologists (FSP). Around 1,500 general practitioners and by extension almost 10,000 patients would be affected. “Thousands of people may therefore lose their place in therapy.”

An overlap of systems was in place on a transitional basis until the end of December 2022, when the old “delegation model” was to officially end. The OFSP, aware of the unresolved issues, had proposed to extend it until the end of 2023, which the insurers supported. “We refused because the fundamental problems would have remained”, explains Urs-Ueli Schorno. FSP wants future psychotherapists’ costs to be covered in a fixed and less strict way by the funds.

“No compromise could be found”

“We hope that a solution will be found, because it is fundamentally important that psychologists’ work in continuing education is remunerated,” says Matthias Müller, spokesman for the insurance companies’ Santesuisse umbrella organization. According to Grégoire Gogniat, spokesman for FOPH, it is not known who will cover the costs of treatments for psychologists on further training from 1 January. “No compromise could be found. Our proposal to extend the transitional provisions was unfortunately rejected,” he says.

(Michelle Ineichen/ofu/ywe)

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