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Help Spread the Word of Music Therapy!
By Lucy Schipper
2/29/2012 12:24:00 PM

We need your help!  Whether you have experienced music therapy first-hand, or you are a parent of a healthy, normally-developing child who took music lessons, or perhaps you yourself took music lessons as a child or as an adult, you have seen and/or experienced the benefits that music involvement offers your child.  Would you consider spreading the word about the benefits music therapy to your local state legislator on behalf of the many children and adults who desire to experience the power of music as well, but have difficulty gaining access to music therapy services?  Please read my story below and contact your state legislators to let them know how powerful music is in your life and is in the lives of those receiving music therapy services.

One of my biggest challenges in contracting music therapy services is finding financial resources to fund the contract fees that reflect the high quality of services provided.  Organizations become quite excited when they observe the benefits music therapy can bring to their clients that aren’t achieved through traditional interventions, but they often view music therapy as an “extra” or a “non-essential” service that is difficult to fund, especially in this tough economic time.  This first became apparent when I was contacted by the family of a two year old who had received music therapy services during a hospital stay and was transferring to a hospital closer to home for rehabilitation, which did not provide music therapy services.  The child had muscle weakness following seizure activity when she had extremely high fevers with influenza A.  The child was resistant to both physical therapy and occupational therapy, but was responsive during music therapy, which helped her progress toward discharging from the first hospital.  Even though the family’s insurance company accepted the treatment codes and procedures I proposed using music therapy, since music therapy is not a licensed profession, the insurance company did not recognize our board-certification process as acceptable for approval.  We were able to find a grant to fund music therapy services for the family for a month, but the grant money could also be used to purchase diapers and other home supplies to care for the child’s needs, so understandably, the family opted to discontinue music therapy services prematurely to use the grant money for other purposes.

Soon after this experience, I joined a state-wide task force to begin the process of gaining recognition of music therapy services from state legislators, who might guide us in determining how music therapy can be recognized as a legitimate and reimbursable profession by insurance companies.  We hope that by gaining government recognition, music therapy clients may be able to have their services covered by insurance companies (similar to chiropractic care) or to be allowed to choose music therapy as a viable and credible intervention option among those already identified by government agencies as qualified and reimbursable.  I have started this conversation with my local state legislators, but they stated that legislators across the state need to hear about the benefits of music therapy from more than just one person to make this concern a priority—in other words, numbers speak volumes!  We need your help!  If you have experienced the power of music therapy in your life, please let your state legislators know about it, and perhaps more people will be able to benefit as you have!

Find your own legislators and their contact information by entering your 9-digit zip code/address at the following website: www.congress.org

If you would be interested in learning more about music therapy, please visit www.musictherapy.org and www.musictherapyiowa.org .  Feel free to contact any board-certified music therapist in your area listed at those websites, and perhaps you too can observe the power of music therapy for yourself.   

Tags: support music therapy, government, legislation, insurance
Categories: Music Therapy
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