Master’s Level Therapists (MLTs)* as Providers in the Workers’ Compensation System
To receive updates regarding the MLT pilot, please sign up for the “Master’s Level Therapist Updates” E-Gov bulletin. For questions about the pilot, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions document or email MLT@Lni.wa.gov.
Currently, Master’s Level Therapists (MLTs) are not allowed to treat under a workers’ compensation claim. To provide a structured environment for care delivery and capture of data, L&I is conducting a pilot to allow and pay MLTs to provide appropriate behavioral and/or mental health services. The exceptions to allow payment for MLTs will be effective throughout the 4-year pilot period or as otherwise specified, and will apply only to pilot participants.
The Master’s Level Therapist (MLT) Pilot has two goals:
- Expand access to behavioral health interventions delivered by qualified MLTs. These behavioral health interventions are intended to better enable workers to heal and return to work, and aid attending providers to address barriers that impede recovery from work-related injury or illness.
- Expand access to appropriate care for accepted mental health conditions delivered by qualified MLTs. While L&I’s current mental health system will remain unchanged, MLTs in the pilot will be able to provide care for accepted mental health conditions. If a mental health condition is contended by the attending provider, it will go through L&I’s current mental health evaluation and authorization process (MLTs are not allowed to diagnose mental health conditions or perform mental health evaluations in the pilot).
*MLTs include Licensed independent Clinical Social Workers (LICSWs), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs), and Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs).
Up to 300 MLTs may be enrolled initially, with provisions made to achieve equitable provider distribution, by county, throughout the state of Washington.
Qualified participating providers include:
- Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers (LICSWs)
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs)
- Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs)
Enrollment has begun as of November 15, 2019. Relevant pilot information and specific pilot dates will be posted on this webpage and sent out via the "Master's Level Therapist Updates" E-Gov Bulletin.
How to apply to participate:
Complete and submit all of the following:
- L&I required training module completion certificate (signed and dated)
- Please note, this training must be opened in Chrome to work
- Completed Non-network provider application
- Please indicate your licensure under "Provider Specialty" on Page 6 of the application
- MLT Pilot supplemental application
All documentation must be together, complete (including all pages), and mailed OR faxed:
- Mail: Provider Credentialing
PO Box 44261
Olympia WA 98504-4261
- Fax: 360-902-4563
Documentation & Payment Policy
For detailed information on payment policy, limits, and requirements, please review this document: L&I MLT Pilot Payment Policy.
Behavioral Health Services in the pilot:
- Require a referral from the attending provider
- Are a brief course of care with a focus on addressing psychosocial barriers that impede a worker’s recovery and improve their ability to return to work
- The first set of up to 8 visits does not require prior authorization
- Utilize CPT© codes 96156, 96158, and 96159
- No more than one hour may be billed on a single date of service/visit.
- Documentation using L&I’s MLT pilot forms is required to show progress and improvement in function throughout visits. If the patient is progressing, a maximum of up to 8 more visits can be authorized through a utilization review process.
- MLT Pilot Behavioral Health Assessment Form
- To be used at the initial visit
- MLT Pilot Behavioral Health Intervention/Re-assessment Form
- Intervention/treatment summary to be used at each follow-up visit
- Re-assessment to be used when there are flare-ups or when requesting continued services through Utilization Review
- Required psychometric measures listed on these forms include:
- MLT Pilot Behavioral Health Assessment Form
Mental Health Services in the pilot:
- When referred for by the Attending Provider, a MLT pilot provider may request authorization to provide appropriate psychotherapy treatment for an already accepted mental health condition on the claim, under L&I’s current mental health authorization process. Refer to Mental Health Services for more information.
- An MLT may not diagnose a mental health condition or perform a mental health evaluation. If a mental health condition is contended, it would go through L&I’s current mental health evaluation and authorization process.
For information on Mental Health Services, including authorization and reporting requirements, please visit Mental Health Services.
Rules & Contacts
The start date of treatment in the Master’s Level Therapist (MLT) Pilot is January 1, 2020
MLTs able to enroll in the pilot include Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers (LICSWs), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs), and Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs). Providers enrolled and accepted by Labor & Industries (L&I) in the pilot can begin treating under the terms and conditions of the pilot on January 1, 2020 after the CR-101 is filed or as otherwise specified by L&I. During this time, only providers approved to participate in the pilot will be able to provide treatment.
The MLT pilot will last for up to four years, or until sufficient data is gathered to assess and evaluate the provision of treatment by MLTs within the workers' compensation setting.
During the course of the MLT pilot, L&I will evaluate and consider pilot metrics, data, and experiences.
The CR-102 will be filed when there is sufficient data collected to assess and evaluate the provision of treatment by MLTs within the workers’ compensation setting. After the CR-102 is filed only providers participating in the pilot can continue to provide services to workers.
The CR-103 adopts the final changes to the affected rule and is usually effective 31 days after the filing date. Once the CR-103 is filed and effective, any providers that meet and comply with all the criteria detailed in the resulting rule, coverage decision, and/or payment policy can enroll with L&I to provide treatment to workers.
MLT Pilot Information and Questions:
Billing and Payment questions:
Provider Hotline 800-848-0811
General Information for Providers in Medical Aid Rules and Fee Schedules
Rules and Laws
- Billing procedures: WAC 296-20-125
- No Balance Billing: WAC 296-20-020 and WAC 296-20-022 (2)
- Proper and necessary definition: WAC 296-20-01002
- Pilot Rulemaking: RCW 34.05.313
- Current L&I rules regarding MLTs: WAC 296-21-270
For questions regarding rulemaking only, please contact:
Suzy Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-902-5003