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
As you probably know, beginning January 1, 2013 there are new AMA directives regarding Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. The following are the new codes for licensed professional counselors. These new codes must be used for all billing statements.
Old New New Description
90801 90791 Diagnostic interview examination including history, mental status, disposition provided by a non-physician
90804 90832 Individual psychotherapy 30 minutes (16-37 minutes)
90806 90834 Individual psychotherapy 45 minutes (38-55 minutes)
90808 90837 Individual psychotherapy 60 minutes
90839 Intervention for the first 30 to 74 minutes
90840 Intervention for each additional 30 minutes
These codes remain unchanged:
90846 Family psychotherapy (without patient present)
90847 Family psychotherapy (conjoint psychotherapy)
90849 Multi-family group psychotherapy
90853 Group psychotherapy (other than of a multiple-family group)
Here’s a web site you may want to access for more information.
I am an LLPC involved in a project for the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association (MMHCA) and you! With the future of health care in flux, MMHCA wants to partner with you to assure your place as a mental health professional in the future of health care. There are two things you can do:
1. Go to the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association Facebook page and “like” it. This way you will receive instant updates on what MMHCA is doing for you and what you can do for yourself.
2. Visit www.mmhca.org and become a member. Lobbying for our rights requires financial backing and your membership dues can work directly for you now more than ever. Most of us just want to spend our time focusing on our vocation and not politics. With the Affordable Health Care Act, Blue Cross, and Medicare decisions on the table WE NEED REPRESENTATION. Please give careful consideration to membership.
3. Please pass this on to anyone you know who is concerned about mental health issues in our state.
Jennifer Colberg, MAC, LLPC