The new year is upon us! This is the time of year we generally prepare ourselves for ambitious plans, renewing commitments and eliminating clutter. We have high expectations and great hope for an exciting year that offers us plenty of opportunities to grow and be better versions of ourselves.
In this same spirit, I am very excited to serve as the current president of the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association, standing on the shoulders of past presidents that served as impactful leaders in the field of counseling, it is both a privilege and honor to share in those efforts. We currently have one of the best leadership teams in the state of Michigan that make up the board of MMHCA. Day in and day out our Executive and General board invests meaningful time, great energy and a wealth of ideas to contribute to the growth of Professional Counselors across the state. This upcoming year, the MMHCA team is very excited to put our best foot forward in offering Professional Counselors statewide one of the best membership experiences.
MMHCA’s mission is to develop and empower the mental health counseling profession and promote mental health for the community. This year we intend to offer more diverse programming and supportive networking events that help members connect to like-minded professionals in the field, and develop relationships that can help impact their role as professional counselors. These events help to bring us together and hear other voices from across the state and learn how we may support each other in the work that we do. Truly we will accomplish much more as cohesive members of the profession instead of being fractured and spread out without any connection.
Not only do we intend to make meaningful strides in programming, we plan to continue working hard on the advocacy and legislative needs of professional counselors. Over the past few years the leadership of MMHCA has been able to partner with key lobbying efforts to advocate on behalf of the professional counselor. The significance of our voice is dependent upon our membership, the more we grow in numbers, the stronger and more solidified our voice becomes. We need your membership and support to continue to strive for public policy initiatives that serve our professions interest, parity, and portability for our profession. We are proud to represent and advocate for you the members of MMHCA, as well as, the future members of this great organization.
It is a great time to be a professional counselor in the state of Michigan. We continue to work on projects that have been started years ago, while starting a very worthwhile movement to positively impact our profession. B.F. Skinner said, “It is not a question of starting. The start has been made. It is a question of what is to be done from now on”.
We need your help to keep the momentum moving forward!
Napoleon Harrington MA, LPC, NCC
There has been much confusion regarding the required training standards by the new Michigan Law regarding Human Trafficking.
It is difficult to determine what you are obligated to take to meet the state requirements. If your only goal is to meet the minimum standards, then our training is probably not for you.
MMHCA decided to offer the best workshop available based on the laws outline. We created the best possible training available. Here is how we did it.
Dr. Jeremy Norwood who is on the faculty at Spring Arbor University was approached to develop the workshop. He used the stated language from the bill and developed an outline. We then looked at his extensive knowledge of the topic and decided to have him produce a powerful workshop based on his knowledge and experiences.
Go to our website for more information regarding Dr. Norwood and what you will learn in the workshop.
In addition to his extensive work in this arena, every year he takes a group of students to Asia to study Human Trafficking. Dr. Norwood is presently in Cambodia with a group of students studying the sociological impact and its connection to US trafficking.
Those that have taken the workshop describe it as powerful and intense. They walk away with a greater understanding of the major impact and possible strategies for intervention.
Please consider our offering. It will change your life for the better. In addition, it qualifies for 6 hours of CEU’s and a certificate to prove your participation.
We encourage health professionals and graduate students to use our workshops for the best quality training in Michigan.
Please use the links below to access our quarterly e-newsletters, the MMHCA LifeLines. MMHCA LifeLines keep members informed of our latest programs and activities. You must be a MMHCA member to receive most recent newsletter (January 2018).
Click here for September 2017 MMHCA Newsletter.
Click here for April 2017 MMHCA Newsletter.
Click here for January 2017 MMHCA Newsletter.
NBCC needs your help in obtaining Medicare reimbursement for counselors. It is expected that the Senate will consider mental health reform legislation during the post-election lame duck session, and we need our Medicare language from S. 1830 included in that package.
We urge you to call, e-mail or visit your senators ASAP. All contact is helpful and the more we can generate, the more likely that counselor Medicare coverage will become law.
Your senators are: Gary Peters (202-224-6221) and Debbie Stabenow (202-224-4822)
Action: Please call your senators today and urge them to include S. 1830 in mental health reform legislation. Not sure what to say? Feel free to use some or all of the message below:
“My name is [name] and I am a mental health counselor living in [city, state]. I am calling to urge Senator [name] to push for inclusion of language making mental health counselors Medicare providers in the mental health reform legislation. Expanding access to mental health professionals is critical to improving the health care delivery system and needs to be part of the package. Please make inclusion of S. 1830 a priority in the reform debate and thank you for your support.”
Please let us know, at firstname.lastname@example.org, what actions you take and any response you receive.
Thank you for your help!
NBCC Advocacy Department
|National Board for Certified Counselors
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, NC 27403
Phone: 336.547.0607 | Fax: 336.547.0017 | Visit our website
As you may be aware, our military family population is about to double (approximately 6 million) as we optimistically await award of the 2017 TRICARE® contract. In our work with TRICARE currently we are responding to the results of over ten years of active warfare, where military members and their families have endured the emotional whiplash of combat deployments coupled with brief respites and redeployments. Now, as we face the predicted mental health consequences, your clinical skill and expertise has never been more needed by your country.
Our Federal Network of mental health professionals has played a key role in the provision of world-class mental health and substance abuse services to the men and women of our military for nearly three decades. We see you as a critical partner and not simply a name on a provider directory. To that end, we will have provider representatives who can assist with any questions or issues you may have in order to minimize administrative burden for your staff. As a network provider, you will receive priority with regard to referrals so that you can maintain a patient/client base that meets your professional needs. You will have easy access to cutting-edge trainings, many of which will include free continuing education units. But most importantly, you will be part of a cadre of professionals who have vowed to make a difference for America.
We understand that there are innumerable competing priorities for your services, and that a professional practice requires a level of cash flow to meet those needs. Being fully aware of the necessity of payer mix, we only ask that you consider setting aside a small percentage of your practice time to help these people who have sacrificed so much for all of us.
ValueOptions® Federal Services is dedicated to providing quality customer service to our members and our network providers. An adequate network of dedicated professionals providing much-needed care is therefore critical. We need Your Help, and extend an invitation for you to join the provider network for TRICARE, assuming you meet requisite licensing and credentialing requirements in the state where service is to be rendered. Once TRICARE announces the award of the 2017 contract, you will be credentialed by ValueOptions Federal Services. After credentialing has been completed in full, you will be a TRICARE network provider and eligible for TRICARE referrals at the start of health care delivery.
Below are links for the ValueOptions Federal Services/TRICARE Provider application, agreement and Fee Schedule. Click to open for review and signature.
CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION
CLICK HERE FOR FEE SCHEDULE
CLICK HERE FOR TRICARE AGREEMENT
Should a disqualifying issue occur in credentialing it may affect the agreement for TRICARE, but will have no effect on your other agreements with ValueOptions and Beacon Health Options. Please return as soon as possible by email toServingOurMilitary@valueoptions.com. If email is inconvenient, you can fax the agreement back to: 1-855-745-9579. Lastly, if your preference is to mail the agreement back, please mail to:
ValueOptions Federal Services, Inc.
Attn: TRICARE Provider Relations
1434 Crossways Boulevard Ste. 150
Chesapeake, Virginia 23320
Should you have any questions, please contact us atServingOurMilitary@valueoptions.com.
Your service is greatly needed and we thank you for your dedication to our military men and women. We are ready and willing to assist you.
After years of collaborative efforts, Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) are now eligible to begin the BCBSM and BCN paneling process beginning October 1, 2015 and reimbursement for services rendered will begin January 1, 2016.
LPCs will have the opportunity to participate in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Traditional, TRUST (PPO) and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Managed Care networks (BCN). Participating LPCs will receive direct reimbursement for covered mental health services that fall within their scope of practice/licensure (which includes any service an LPC has formally/ethically received training, i.e. see MCA/MMHCA scope of practice document).
Covered mental health services will be reimbursed at 80 percent of the Traditional, TRUST and MHSAMC doctoral level practitioner fee schedule, less any member deductibles and copayments. Additional provisions for expanded coverage continue and will be made available for dissemination as they become active, i.e. reimbursement parity for doctoral level LPCs, etc.
Note: Not all BCBSM plans (i.e. Self-Funded Plans) will cover LPC services or services billed directly by an LPC. However, services may still be billed on an “incident to” basis for both LPCs and LLPCs until these plans adopt coverage for LPCs. As additional Self-Funded Plans become eligible for contract renewal, it is expected they too will adopt LPCs as covered providers under their respective plans. To find out if a subscriber has coverage, check web-DENIS for member benefits and eligibility or call PARS at 1-800-344-8525. Also, if an LPC registers as a ‘nonparticipating’ provider for Traditional BCBSM plans, payments for covered services will be sent directly to the member.
Beginning October 1, 2015, LPCs can find the Traditional, TRUST and MHSAMC practitioner agreements and enrollment forms on bcbsm.com. To find enrollment information, click on Providers, and then on Join the Blues Network and Enrollment and Changes. Specific qualification requirements are identified within each agreement. Qualified LPCs may apply for a BCBSM provider identification number by completing the enrollment applications available on this site.
Beginning February 1, 2016, LPCs (or any provider type) will not be able to enroll in BCN until the next enrollment period which is October 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017.
All interested LPCs must be registered with a National Provider Identification (NPI) number, as well as a Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) number. Additional information on how to obtain these numbers are available online to members of Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association (MMHCA).
For more information, contact Provider Inquiry, your BCBSM provider consultant, or MMHCA.
Thank you to all that participated in this awaited accomplishment.
Donald E. Deering, Ph.D., LPC, NCC
President, Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association
The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) have jointly endorsed a plan for counselor licensure portability. This plan from leading counselor organizations establishes a regulatory platform allowing licensed counselors to move between and practice in multiple states.
The AMHCA-ACES-NBCC portability plan is built on sound principles of quality assurance and national standards. The plan will promote acceptance of a license from another state when the individual holds a degree from a clinically focused counselor preparation program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), holds certification as a National Certified Counselor, or meets standards adopted by the state board of counseling.
Dr. Keith Mobley, president of AMHCA, states: “The AMHCA leadership commends the efforts of NBCC and ACES for collaborating on this agreement, as it demonstrates strides toward professional unification and portability of licensure. It has been the long-standing goal of AMHCA to seek consistently high standards among credentials for clinical mental health counselors so that our profession may benefit by achieving status equivalent to other practitioners in federally funded programs and gain license portability among states.”
The sentiments are echoed by ACES President Dr. Tarrell Portman, who says: “the counseling profession has too long suffered from inconsistency in education and training standards. These varying requirements have hampered the growth of the profession and the ability of counselors to move across state lines. ACES is excited to be part of this strategic partnership to establish a national education and training standard for licensure portability.”
“This portability plan is a tremendous step forward for the counseling profession,” says NBCC’s Board Chair, Dr. Kylie Dotson-Blake. “The adoption of a CACREP degree or the NCC will give licensure boards the quality control they need to recognize out-of-state licensees. NBCC applauds the AMHCA and ACES leadership for uniting behind this pioneering plan.”
Dr. Mobley summarizes the views of all the organizations when he says, “We are grateful for the collaboration and shared vision for licensed professional mental health counselors and invite other organizations and leaders of our profession to participate.”
Dr. Keith Mobley
American Mental Health Counselors Association
Dr. Tarrell Portman
Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
Dr. Kylie Dotson-Blake
National Board for Certified Counselors
About the Organizations
||The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) is the leading national organization for licensed clinical mental health counselors.
||The Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) is the premier organization dedicated to quality education and supervision of counselors in all work settings.
||The National Board for Certified Counselors is the premier certification organization for the counseling profession.
NBCC announces that the Department of Defense released the final rule establishing standards for counselor participation in the TRICARE program today.
This final rule follows the previous interim final rule (IFR), which was released in December 2011 and created the initial criteria for counselor independent practice under TRICARE. The final rule modifies the IFR in response to comments and concerns expressed by the public.
NBCC has been an active proponent of independent practice rights for counselors in TRICARE for over a decade, and this rule is the culmination of that effort. The IFR granted independent practice authority to counselors, but contained a number of burdensome limitations.
NBCC believes the final rule is a significant improvement over the IFR and is pleased to see many of our recommendations were incorporated. The entirety of the rule can be read here; the highlights of the changes include the following:
- Extension of the transition period to 2017
- Indefinite continuation of the supervised counselor status
- The IFR allowed counselors to continue to practice under physician supervision as supervised mental health counselors (SMHCs) until January 1, 2015. After that date, the SMHC status would no longer be reimbursed. The final rule removes the expiration date and extends the SMHC status indefinitely. Consequently, counselors currently practicing under supervision may continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
The final rule will take effect on August 18, 2014.
NCCs interested in more information can review the final rule or contact the Behavioral Health Branch at 703-681-0064703-681-0064. NBCC is pleased with the positive improvements to the TRICARE standards found in the final rule, particularly those requirements broadening inclusion, extending the transition period and expanding access to counselors for TRICARE beneficiaries.
By James Blundo
Often I am asked, “Why does MMHCA sponsor supervisor training?” I want to take this opportunity to answer that question.
MMHCA sponsors supervisor training because we believe the role of supervisors is so important. Supervisors are the leaders of our profession in Michigan and help to shape our profession in our state. This is why it is so important that Michigan supervisors have a good understanding of our law, its history, and the unique challenges we face as Licensed Professional Counselors in Michigan. We guarantee that our MMHCA sponsored program offered by the Mentoring Institute provides this information in a way that a discounted, out-of-state program cannot.
Dr. Sara Sue Schaeffer, LPC, LMFT, ACS, one of the co-leaders of our training, served for many years as the Licensure Chair for the Michigan Counseling Association and as the first Chair of the Michigan Board of Counseling. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the MMHCA Licensure Committee along with Dr. Irene Mass Ametrano, LPC, ACS, past Co-Chair of the Michigan Board of Counseling. Dr. Schaeffer and Dr. Ametrano helped write our law, were instrumental in writing the first set of Administrative Rules to implement the law, and currently work intensely with MMHCA to protect our scope and right to practice. The MMHCA-sponsored training includes their book and DVD which are not available in any other training program.
I need to share one last important reason why your support of our supervisor training program is so critical. We currently face serious challenges to our scope of practice and ability to collect third-party reimbursement which has the potential to affect every LPC in Michigan. MMHCA is working diligently on your behalf to address these challenges. Every MMHCA member who signs up for our MMHCA-sponsored training program receives a discount on the training, and your membership in MMHCA helps us fund the efforts to defend your right to practice. In addition, we are currently offering a one-time only discount that makes this program more affordable than others.
If you are currently a LLPC Supervisor, please share this information with your colleagues who aspire to become supervisors. If you are looking for a quality supervisor training program that also supports your profession and right to practice, please sign up for our MMHCA-sponsored training program offered by The Mentoring Institute. The next program is beginning right now, but it is not too late to register. For more information, contact Dr. Sara Sue Schaeffer at 269-327-6030.
The question of the use of electronic communication in counseling practices has been on member’s minds for some time. There does not appear to be an explicit mention of this in the Michigan Rules. In ACA and AMHCA guidelines, the need to ensure that appropriate counseling practices are followed is clear. At present, this would appear to mean that Licensed Counselors be clear to any clients in their practice agreements that telephone , including Skype, and email communications are not absolutely confidential. It does not currently appear to be legal for Michigan Licensed professionals to counsel clients in states outside of Michigan unless they are also licensed in those states.
Article by Eric Blumberg, PhD, LPC, CAADC
MMHCA Legislative Chair