Psychologists falsely declare burnout treatment
Dozens of psychologists falsely labeled burnout treatments to get them covered by the health insurers, the investigative journalism platform Pointer reports.
Pointer investigated 20 mental health institutions in the Netherlands, both large and small. Some had written on their websites that burnout treatment could be declared through basic health insurance. Burnout treatments, however, hasn't fallen under basic healthcare since 2013.
Often psychologists list burnout treatments under a different label, such as anxiety disorder, so that the treatment is still reimbursed. In order for a psychiatric disorder to be reimbursed, it needs to fall under the DSM-5 category in the manual for psychiatric disorders, which burnout does not. “People are told that the treatment for burnout is reimbursed when that is not the case. This is done by handing out false diagnoses,” Marieke Verlee, manager at healthcare insurance company CZ, said to the platform. She claimed that this misinformation is spread deliberately.
According to professor of Work and Organizational Psychology at the University of Utrecht, Wilmar Schaufeli, there is a flaw in the system. “A person can really suffer due to burnout. There are good treatments available but these are not reimbursed. Therefore, you try as a healthcare provider to give the patient the best care possible in a creative manner.”
Schaufeli said that burnout treatment should fall under the DSM-5 category so that people can receive the help they need. “Burnout counts as a work-related illness and there are professional guidelines. However, treatment cannot be given because it is not listed in the DSM. That system really is strange.”
The Ministry of Health stated that they do not plan to change the current regulations surrounding burnout treatment anytime soon.
In 2018, healthcare provider HSK was fined 400 thousand euros for systematically filing false diagnoses between 2013 and 2016. HSK filed an appeal which is currently being reviewed by a judge.