For symposium this week, we discussed insurance and reimbursement. I was only vaguely familiar with this topic from what I had learned so far in this internship, so it was helpful to discuss it in more detail. My overall takeaway from this topic is that receiving insurance reimbursement for individual music therapy is a long and difficult process, and typically does not happen in many cases. However, there are ways to make changes to this, but it is based upon individual states, which takes longer. Our hope is that one day in the near future, music therapy will be covered by insurance for all clients, in all cases, and nationwide.
I learned that if music therapy is a part of a health team in a facility, that it can be covered under insurance, due to the whole team being considered health services. Our discussion on this topic included CPT codes and learning that they are service specific, not discipline specific. In other words, music therapy can fall under some of the same CPT codes as other disciplines, such as speech therapy. These are important to note when attempting to receive insurance reimbursement. We also discussed current legislation that is attempting to help promote our field. One example is in California, where it is about to be passed that anyone who claims to be providing music therapy services and is not board-certified will receive a fine of up to $2500. More legislation needs to be passed to recognize our field as a licensed, professional health service, but some recent changes have been heading in the right direction.
This week, we did not have our regular symposium because we hosted a special music camp for special needs children, called Camp Jam. The camp was designed to provide music therapy interventions in a fun and social group setting. We had such a great time, and seeing the kids’ faces light up throughout the day and hearing comments such as “I don’t want music camp to end” made all the hard work worth it.
Each day began with circle time, where we sang a hello song and our Camp Jam theme song, among several others that addressed social skills such as greeting others and keeping self-control. Then we divided up into groups for music therapy. This was one of my favorite parts because I had the opportunity to help lead the younger kids. We sang stories, had drum circle, played shakers and other instruments, among several other interventions. Throughout the group, we gave clients opportunities to be leaders and practiced taking turns, all to enhance social skills. Then the kids went to either movement group or craft time. I also enjoyed helping with the crafts, where we made our own instruments, such as decorating slit drums and making rain sticks. We had a snack time after these groups, followed by time on the playground. To wrap up the day, we had a calming down time and a concert by special guest musicians.
The whole week was filled with fun, energy, and great socializing opportunities. Our music therapy interventions also targeted cognitive skills and motor skills, all within an interactive, musical approach. It may have required waking up earlier than usual, facing traffic to get to the location, and lots of preparation, but none of that mattered as soon as I saw the kids smiling, laughing, singing, and making music together. I had seen a video about this camp on the Music Therapy Center’s website when I first applied for this internship and have been looking forward to it ever since. It was so exciting to be a part of such a wonderful music camp for these kids.