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Psychologist bonus: because after a year he is still blocked

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Psychologist bonus: because after a year he is still blocked

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Nothing yet to be done for the many Italians who hope to gain the incentive to spend on psychotherapy sessions to combat post-pandemic stress, anxiety and depression. There are funds for both 2023 (increased to 10 million) and 2024 (8 million) and also the decree with the methods for applying has been published in the Official Journal but to finally make it operational the psychologist bonus There is still one step missing, namely the INPS circular which activates the platform with the deadlines for submitting applications. A truly excessive delay, of about a year, also because these are steps already taken in the past given that the psychologist bonus was introduced in 2021 and made structural by the maneuver for 2023

The psychologist bonus and the resources available

The psychologist bonus – a contribution that grows based on the ISEE to spend 50 euros for each psychotherapy session – was introduced in December 2021 by legislative decree 228/2021 and made operational in July 2022. The measure was a success incredible, so much so that in the first edition almost 400 thousand applications arrived, but only 40 thousand applications were accepted (therefore around 10%) with the 25 million euros that were available. Then came the 2023 maneuver which made the psychologist bonus structural by allocating 5 million for 2023 and 8 million for this year. Few resources – as the Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci himself recognized – which in fact were somewhat increased last December with the advances decree which raised the resources for 2023 by another 5 million for a total of 10 million.

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The delays: from the implementing decree to the INPS platform

But the issue, as mentioned, is not so much the resources, which, although not sufficient compared to the potential patient population, are available and could even grow with an amendment to the thousand extensions. The quibble is, as too often happens in Italy, the implementation: the methods for accessing the bonus arrived late with the approval only at the end of November of the decree signed by the Ministry of Health and the Mef which was then published in the Official Journal on January 10th. As mentioned, one month after the entry into force of the decree, the INPS is still missing the activation of the platform with the deadlines for submitting applications. An unjustified delay as explained by Filippo Sensi (Pd) among the “fathers” of the bonus: «I wonder what it takes to activate the platform, Ips has all the know-how possible and imaginable, they already did it last year, not it is understandable why – in addition to having wasted an entire year to make the implementing decrees – they are now still unable to accept online applications. Of a size, moreover, that was very effective.”

How the contribution for sessions with the psychologist works

The bonus consists of a financial contribution to pay for sessions with private specialists, psychologists or psychotherapists registered in the professional register. The list of participating operators can be consulted on the websites of INPS, CNOP and the Orders of the regions and autonomous provinces. If the application is accepted, the contribution is recognized, for an amount of up to 50 euros for each psychotherapy session, and is paid up to the maximum sum assigned, linked to the ISEE values. The amount, recognized only once, is set at a maximum of 1,500 euros for incomes with an ISEE of less than 15 thousand euros (up to 50 euros for each session); 1,000 euros for incomes with ISEE between 15 thousand and 30 thousand euros (up to 50 euros for each session) 500 euros for incomes with ISEE greater than 30 thousand but less than 50 thousand (up to 50 euros for each session). The INPS will draw up the rankings defined Region by Region, identifying the beneficiaries based on the amount of resources.

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