Transcript: AARP Family and Caregiving Expert Discusses Music Therapy Treatment

Amy Goyer shares how music can help dementia and Alzheimer's patients

Comment from Guest: Where did you study music?

Amy Goyer: My degree in music therapy is from Ohio University. Go Bobcats!

Comment from John: Will medical insurance pay for music therapy?

Amy Goyer: According to the American Association of Music, in some cases it will: "music therapy is a reimbursable service under benefits for Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP). Falling under the heading of Activity Therapy, the interventions cannot be purely recreational or diversionary in nature and must be individualized and based on goals specified in the treatment plan. The current HCPCS Code for PHP is G0176." AMTA says, in terms of Medicare, "The music therapy must be considered an active treatment by meeting the following criteria:

  1. Be prescribed by a physician;
  2. Be reasonable and necessary for the treatment of the individual's illness or injury;
  3. Be goal directed and based on a documented treatment plan;
  4. The goal of treatment cannot be to merely maintain current level of functioning; the individual must exhibit some level of improvement."

A few states allow payment for music-therapy services through the use of Medicaid Home and Community Based Care waivers with certain client groups. Contact your state Medicaid office to find out the laws and rules in your state.

Comment from Ellyn: I'm trained as a caregiver but have used music from the 1930s and 1940s to pump up my 84-year-old client.

Amy Goyer: That's a wonderful use of music, Ellyn! I'm so glad to hear you're getting creative with music as a motivator!

I frequently use music in taking care of both my parents. My blog post this week outlines some of the things I do. And — bonus material! — you might even see a video of my dad singing!

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