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Therapists Explore Dropping Solo Practices To Join Groups

In the corporate world of American health care, psychologists and other mental health therapists are still mostly mom-and-pop shops. They build their own solo practices, not unlike Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip gang who hung her own shingle: “Psychiatric Help, 5 [Cents] — The Doctor is In.”

But the business model for therapists is shifting away from solo practices and toward large medical groups, say mental health experts. That change is propelled by the Affordable Care Act, which mandates mental health benefits in insurance coverage, and by the Mental Health Parity Law, which requires private and public insurers to cover mental health needs at the same level as medical conditions — by charging similar copays, for example.