Acuitas Quarterly Report to the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association

Quarterly Report to the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association

To:          Jim Blundo, MMHCA – Executive Director

Napoleon Harrington, MMHCA – Board President

Irene Ametrano, MMHCA – Public Policy & Licensure Committee Co-Chair

Sue Schaeffer, MMHCA – Public Policy & Licensure Committee Co-Chair

From:    Sarah Hubbard, Principal

Kevin Korpi, Principal

Andrea Cascarilla, Legislative Director

Re:         2019 Fourth Quarter Report
Date:     December 31, 2019

Direct Lobbying, Legislator Communications and Strategy Outreach:

  • Acuitas sends MMHCA a listing of all the House and Senate Committee hearings scheduled each week.
  • Acuitas also sends MMHCA hearing notes from a wide variety of committees that cover policy issues of general interest.
  • Acuitas provides MMHCA with a weekly summary of key issues addressed, pending and expected in the legislature.
  • October 1 – Andrea met with Rep. Neeley (House Ways and Means Committee member) to secure his support for HB 4325.
  • October 1 – Andrea coordinated with MMHCA to secure as many cards of support as possible for the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 1 – Andrea responded to inquiries from MMHCA regarding an MCA meeting with Sen. Lucido on HB 4325 and his related comments/recommendations.
  • October 1 – Andrea responded to attorney questions regarding provisions in HB 4325 and the need to maintain them for support.
  • October 1 – Andrea provided feedback to the Board of Counseling Chair on her testimony for the LARA rules hearing.
  • October 1 – Andrea shared information and addressed questions of the House Republican Policy Staff on HB 4325 for the Ways and Means Committee and shared all that information with Rep. Miller.
  • October 1 – Andrea advised Sue Schaeffer and Irene Ametrano on testimony for the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 1 – Andrea developed general talking points for MMHCA to share for the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 1 – Andrea spoke with LARA staff regarding the upcoming rules hearing and relayed details of what to expect to MMHCA.
  • October 1 – Andrea joined Todd Leibert for a call to discuss the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 2 – Andrea met with Rep. Wentworth (House Ways and Means Committee member) to secure his support for HB 4325.
  • October 2 – Andrea attended the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on HB 4325 and later shared news reports on the hearing with MMHCA.
  • October 2 – Andrea met with Sen. Bayer regarding HB 4325 and addressed several questions she had regarding the bill and the LARA proposed rules and to secure her support for HB 4325.
  • October 2 – Andrea printed off the 37,000 signatures from the petition supporting HB 4325 and opposing the LARA rules changes for the LARA rules hearing.
  • October 2 – Andrea briefed Brian Banks (ACA) on what to expect at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing and LARA rules hearing.
  • October 2 – Andrea spoke with LARA staff again regarding the department’s plans for the rules committee hearing and relayed to MMHCA the restrictions on time for testimony, etc.
  • October 2 – Tony sent to MMHCA the Acuitas notes from the House DHHS Appropriations Committee hearing on public behavioral health financing in Michigan.
  • October 2 – Andrea worked with MMHCA members on what to expect at the LARA rules hearing, how to coordinate testimony and provided feedback on various members’ draft testimony.
  • October 3 – Andrea met with the lobbyist for the Michigan Psychological Association, the Michigan Psychiatric Society and the Michigan State Medical Society regarding potential amendments to HB 4325 and worked with Sue Schaeffer and Irene Ametrano to rebut MPA’s arguments to support their amendments.
  • October 3 – Andrea hosted MMHCA for a strategy dinner regarding HB 4325.
  • October 3 – Andrea briefed MMHCA members on the discussions with legal counsel regarding the filing of an injunction against the LARA rules if needed.
  • October 4 – Andrea attended the public hearing on LARA’s proposed counseling rule changes and submitted testimony cards on behalf of several Board of Counseling members and MMHCA board members.
  • October 4 – Andrea spoke with Gongwer News Service regarding the LARA rules hearing and HB 4325.
  • October 4 – Andrea forwarded to MMHCA information from the MPA lobbyist regarding LPC’s adequacy of training in diagnosis and relayed responses from MMHCA back to MPA.
  • October 4 – Andrea continued to negotiate with the Michigan State Medical Society over amendments to HB 4325.
  • October 4 – Andrea spoke with LARA staff to request clarity regarding the timeline for the proposed rules.
  • October 4 — Amanda sent MMHCA the Acuitas legislative update.
  • October 6 – Andrea provided updates to MMCHA board members regarding the Senate vote tracker.
  • October 7 – Andrea met with DHHS regarding a requested technical amendment to HB 4325 and shared that with MMHCA for their review and okay.
  • October 7 – Andrea responded to CMH comments that the LARA rules wouldn’t change LPC’s scope of practice and share written arguments challenging those comments with MMHCA members.
  • October 7 – Andrea shared with MMHCA some recent news stories on HB 4325 as well as specific comments made by the MPA on NPR and recommended actions in response.
  • October 8 – Andrea spoke with the Chief of Staff for the House Ways and Means Committee chair and addressed several questions regarding amendments in advance of the hearing on HB 4325.
  • October 8 – Andrea attended the House Ways and Means Committee hearing and unanimous vote on HB 4325 and submitted cards of support for numerous MMHCA members and other individuals and organizations.
  • October 8 — Tony sent to MMHCA the Acuitas notes from the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 8 – Andrea attended House session for the full House vote and unanimous passage of HB 4325.
  • October 9 – Andrea met with Governor Whitmer’s Health Policy Advisor regarding HB 4325.
  • October 9 – Andrea followed up with LARA staff to confirm the status of the proposed LARA rules changes and reported back to MMHCA and recommended a strategy of action in response.
  • October 9 – Andrea worked with MMHCA members on media outreach and letters to the editor on HB 4325.
  • October 10 – Andrea notified MMHCA that HB 4325 had been officially noticed for the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee hearing.
  • October 10 – Andrea met with Sen. Santana (Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee member) to secure her support for HB 4325.
  • October 10 – Andrea spoke with Sen. VanderWall, confirmed a hearing date for HB 4325 and reported this to MMHCA.
  • October 10 – Andrea responded to all of Rep. Robinson’s questions and concerns regarding HB 4325 and the LARA rules.
  • October 11 — Amanda sent MMHCA the Acuitas legislative update.
  • October 11 – Andrea flagged for MMHCA two bills (HBs 5043-5044) that would create a standard mediation process for community mental health service provider disputes.
  • October 12 – Andrea attended a MMHCA seminar and provided a legislative update on HB 4325.
  • October 14 – Andrea coordinated with Sue Schaeffer and Irene Ametrano on their testimony in support of HB 4325 for Senate Committee and coordinated with other MMHCA members on submitting cards of support.
  • October 14 – Andrea shared the Michigan Hospital Association’s formal statement of support for HB 4325 with MMHCA.
  • October 15 – Andrea responded to reporter questions regarding HB 4325 and the LARA rules at the request of Rep. Robinson.
  • October 15 – Andrea responded to Rep. Miller’s questions about a potential amendment to HB 4325 from Sen. McBroom.
  • October 15 – Andrea and Amra compiled over 300 cards of support from LPCs and others for the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee hearing on HB 4325.
  • October 15 – Andrea shared with MMHCA the official Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee notice for HB 4325.
  • October 16 – Andrea met with Sen. McBroom regarding his proposed amendment to HB 4325.
  • October 16 – Andrea attended the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee hearing on HB 4325.
  • October 16 – Andrea informed MMHCA that HB 4325 was formally scheduled for final passage in the full Senate the following day.
  • October 16 – Andrea joined MMHCA for a strategy dinner.
  • October 17 – Andrea attended Senate session for the final vote on HB 4325 and later shared with MMHCA a Gongwer News article on the bill’s passage.
  • October 17 – Andrea responded to a variety of questions and concerns from MMHCA members regarding the Governor’s comments on HB 4325’s passage and assured them that the Governor would sign the bill into law.
  • October 18 – Andrea spoke with the Governor’s Public Relations Director regarding MMHCA concerns regarding the Governor signing the bill and relayed again that there was nothing to be concerned with.
  • October 18 — Amanda sent MMHCA the Acuitas legislative update.
  • October 21 – Andrea notified MMHCA that HB 4325 had not yet been sent to the Governor and clarified when that was expected to occur.
  • October 21 – Andrea inquired with MMHCA as to whether the proposed Medicaid policy on Limited License Psychologist enrollment and billing requirements was of any interest.
  • October 22 – Andrea informed MMHCA that the state received a $3.4 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to conduct a needs assessment of substance abuse disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery provider capacity for the state’s Medicaid program and inquired about any comments MMHCA may wish to make regarding the study.
  • October 22 – Andrea began coordinating with the Governor’s office for the HB 4325 bill signing with MMHCA.
  • October 23 – Tony sent MMHCA the Acuitas notes from the House DHHS Appropriations Committee hearing on the behavioral health integration.
  • October 23 – Andrea notified Jim Blundo about the House Regulatory Reform Committee hearing on emotional support animals and comments about counselors’ involvement with the abuse of these “prescriptions” and provided him with background information.
  • October 23 – Andrea provided the Michigan State Medical Society and MPS lobbyist with information on the number of states (32) that explicitly allow LPC’s to diagnose.
  • October 24 – Andrea notified MMHCA of the upcoming November Board of Counseling meeting notice and agenda.
  • October 24 – Andrea provided the Governor’s office with the list of MMHCA attendees for the bill signing and continued to work to finalize the location for the signing.
  • October 25 – Andrea attended the MMHCA Washtenaw County member meeting with Rep. Lasinski, Sen. Irwin and Sen. Theis and provided a legislative update.
  • October 25 — Amanda sent MMHCA the Acuitas legislative update.

Seeking Full-Time Contractual Therapists-Room to Talk in Ann Arbor

Room to Talk, housed within the non-profit The Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan, is committed to providing a safe space for therapy and transformation to individuals across the gender spectrum. They recently moved to a new and improved location in Ann Arbor and are looking to expand their team. If you are interested in being a part of a supportive community of therapists and enjoy a flexible schedule go to their website for more information

Contractual Therapist is needed at Lake Orion Counseling Center

Lake Orion Counseling Center is seeking a therapist for a contracted position. They are in a great location in northern Oakland County (a few miles from DTE/Pine Knob and Great Lakes Crossings Mall). They are in network with most insurances and provide a professional and welcoming environment. Record keeping is electronic with a user friendly site, and the office space is furnished. Hours are flexible but preferred is someone who can work occasional evenings and/or weekends. Ideally, they are seeking someone fully licensed who has experience working with children and families as well as potentially someone who can work with couples. We have an active marketing approach to help build a caseload and a generous fee split.
Please feel free to contact Adam Pasciak for any other details.
Adam Pasciak, PhD; Licensed Psychologist/Director
Lake Orion Counseling Center
3604 Clarkston Rd, Suite #102, Clarkston, MI 48348; 248-595-9969 (phone)

Therapist opening at Listening Ear Crisis Center in Mt. Pleasant

Do you believe in people’s capacity to grow and change? Do you notice children’s ability to be resilient in difficult circumstances, particularly with just the right tools and support? If so, then you may want to consider working as a therapist for Listening Ear Crisis Center.

Listening Ear is looking for a full-time, detailed, dependable, and motivated therapist who wants to make a difference in the lives of sexually abused children and their families.

Listening Ear Crisis Center is a private nonprofit, human service agency based in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The organization is licensed by the State of Michigan and is nationally accredited by Council on Accreditation.

Daily job performance responsibilities:

· Conduct assessments and develop person-centered treatment plans to address needs, including but not limited to: emotional, social, cultural/spiritual, and physical needs, safety skills training, recovery after trauma, and parent/guardian support.

· Provide counseling to children and their parents/guardians and/or families, using evidenced-based practices and child-friendly strategies (such as play therapy).

· Provide clinical supervision and case management for Runaway and Homeless Youth Program and Transitional Living Program.

· Provide information and referrals when appropriate, testify in court as required, and advocate for the clients and their families.

· Assure that case activity meets contract requirements and accreditation standards.

· Maintain multidisciplinary relationships within the community (service area includes Isabella and Clare counties).

· Maintain a Trauma informed committee for the agency.

· Complete required case documentation, monthly reports, and communicate with billing department as needed.

**This is a full-time position for 40 hours per week.

Job Qualifications:

Master’s degree in a human service field required.

Licensure in the State of Michigan

Training or certification in TF-CBT (preferred)


· Experience with youth and families (preferred).

· Must be in such physical and mental health so as not to negatively affect either the health of the consumer or the quality of his or her care.

· Three good character and work references submitted during the hiring process.

· Must have a valid Michigan driver’s license and acceptable driving record.

· Must pass required background and/or Protective Services checks per state guidelines.

· Must pass all necessary training required by the State, any governmental agency, or the employer, and any and all tests must be successfully completed. Successful completion of training regarding: Human Trafficking and Suicide Awareness.

· Must demonstrate the ability to respond appropriately to the cultural and socioeconomic differences present among the population serviced.

· Must demonstrate the ability to develop a mutually respectful partnership with the persons served, as well as with their families, so they are helped to gain skills and confidence to address any issues and problems they face.

· Must have a conviction about the capacity of people to grow and change.

· Must have the ability to work in partnership with other team members.

· Must have the ability to set limits, maintain the role of the position, and to intervene appropriately to meet the needs of the persons served and/or other family members.

Job Type: Full-time; Salary: $19.23 to $24.00 /hour

Emma Reed, Assistant to the Executive Director; Please email interest to

Listening Ear Crisis Center, 107 E Illinois – PO Box 800, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48804; (989) 773-6904 ext 3249

Governor Whitmer Signs Bills Into Law


January 27, 2019

Gov. Whitmer Signs Bills Into Law

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Whitmer signed House Bills 4051, 4411, 4309, 5241, 5242, 5243, and 4156 as well as Senate Bills 434 and 184.

House Bill 4051 amends the Mental Health Code to establish a Michigan CARES (Community, Access, Resources, Education and Safety) hotline for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. This bill was sponsored by Representative Mary Whiteford,  R – Casco Township.

“As governor, my number one job is to protect the health and safety of all Michigan residents,” said Whitmer. “By creating a mental health hotline that will be available 24/7, we have taken a necessary step towards giving all Michiganders the care they need.”

House Bill 4156 would allow mental health professionals, other than a psychiatrist, to work in a state-run psychiatric hospital without forfeiting their retirement benefits. This bill was sponsored by Representative Hank Vaupel, R – Fowlerville.

Law to keep Michigan’s licensed professional counselors on the job took effect on January 27, 2020

A law updating and clarifying rules for Michigan’s licensed professional counselors takes effect today, ending a controversy that threatened the livelihood of many counselors and could have left tens of thousands of patients without their therapist.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4325 in October to resolve the dispute between licensed professional counselors and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The bill updates the Public Health Code to specify that licensed professional counselors are allowed to diagnose and treat patients.

Updates were needed because the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs proposed a rule that would have precluded many licensed professional counselors from using counseling techniques and psychotherapy to treat patients.

The rule change could have resulted in an estimated 10,000 licensed professional counselors in Michigan losing their ability to see patients and provide mental-health services in a clinical setting. Licensed professional counselors, who have at least a master’s degree, serve about 150,000 patients in the state, said James Blundo, executive director of the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association. They are about 30% of the counselors who work for Michigan’s community mental health agencies, working alongside psychologists and clinical social workers.

“LPCs are invaluable to patients and families across Michigan,” said state Rep. Aaron Miller, R-Sturgis, who sponsored the legislation. “My colleagues and I have been committed to improving access to mental health across the state and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to advocate for counselors.

“Special thanks go to former Rep. Jim Tedder, who first introduced this legislation in 2018 but was unfortunately unable to complete the process before the end of his last term. In his final weeks in office he asked me to carry the torch to the finish line to deliver on the promises he made to Michigan LPCs.”

In addition to clarifying psychotherapy and diagnosis as counseling techniques, the law now reflects current training standards that have improved over the past three decades.

“Prior to today, the law hadn’t been updated since 1988. A lot has changed since then – the law needed to reflect modern practices,” Miller said. “Counselors in communities across Michigan advocated for these changes for years. This is a historic day for those professionals.”

Andrea Cascarilla

Legislative Director

Acuitas LLC

AMHCA Launches New Professional Development Certifications




AMHCA Now Offers Qualified Clinical Mental Health Counselors Three Professional Development Certifications


Certification – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialist

The AMHCA Specialist certification recognizes licensed professionals who achieve expertise in one or more specializations. It attests to specialist training beyond the master’s degree and includes specialist clinical supervision and experience in one or more of these counseling areas: Child and Adolescent; Couples and Family; Developmental and Learning Disabilities; Geriatric; Integrated Behavioral Health Care; Military; Substance Use and Co-occurring Disorders; and Trauma.



Certification – Diplomate in Advanced Clinical Mental Health Counseling Practice

The AMHCA Diplomate certification recognizes licensed professionals in general practice. It attests to demonstrated, superior qualification to practice independently through continuing professional development as an advanced practice clinician.



Certification – Fellow in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Education and Research

The AMHCA Fellow recognizes licensed professionals who are engaged in graduate education in university mental health counseling programs or doing the equivalent of university-level research in mental health counseling-related areas of study.

Find out more about how and why these certifications were created by reading our press release.

Looking for a Supervisor?

Are you an LLPC Looking for a supervisor?

Click on the link below for a listing of supervisors trained in the MMHCA-approved Mentoring Institute Supervisor Training Program.

All of the supervisors listed have earned the right to use the coveted title MITS (Mentoring Institute Trained Supervisor).

Choosing a MITS supervisor guarantees that your supervisor’s training included the most accurate and up-to-date information concerning Michigan Law, Rules, and professional issues facing Michigan Counselors


You can also find additional trained Supervisors on the Find a Counselor Page of the MMHCA website (,





PHI Consent Tool

All Providers,

There are multiple state and federal laws that address what health information can be shared, when it can be shared, and with whom.

In order to reduce confusion about when an individual’s consent is necessary to share health information, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund commissioned Altarum to create resources to help clinicians, providers, payers, and others navigate the laws surrounding health information. These resources are intended to increase the flow of patient information from clinician to clinician, particularly with respect to behavioral health information, resulting in improved care coordination across the state of Michigan. MDHHS shares these desires for better information flow and better care coordination and is, therefore, making these resources available at

To stay up to date with the latest information, resources, and tools for navigating behavioral health consent and confidentiality regulations in Michigan, sign up here to be added to the Michigan Consent Help Listserv.

Providers can contact the PHI Consent Helpline