Some News with Regards to Medicare Reimbursement to Mental Health Counselors!
On June 30, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a legislative hearing that included H.R. 945, which provides Medicare reimbursement to mental health counselors. The Heath Subcommittee hearing on “High Anxiety and Stress: Legislation to Improve Mental Health During Crisis” considered 22 bills to improve both quality and access to mental health care in America.
This historic hearing was the first time that counselor Medicare legislation was evaluated as a stand-alone measure. All previous congressional action included our legislation as a piece of a broader health care package. During the hearing, Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) strategically highlighted the significant benefits of H.R. 945.
The Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to hold a markup of a selection of these mental health bills in the future. It is critical that H.R. 945 be included in list of bills for markup. To ensure that happens, Representatives need to hear from mental health counselors in their district about the importance of including our bill.
We urge you to contact your Representative this week and ask him/her to include H.R. 945 in the House Energy and Commerce markup of mental health legislation.
Use the link below to find your Representative with email and phone numbers:
Find my Representative
Sample message for call or email [please fill in bracketed sections]:
I am a mental health counselor from [city/state]. I urge Representative [___] to request inclusion of H.R. 945 in the Energy and Commerce Committee markup of mental health legislation. H.R. 945 authorizes licensed mental health counselors to provide mental health and addiction services to Medicare beneficiaries. H.R. 945 ensures that 40% of the mental health workforce is available to deal with the behavioral health crisis that is being created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to care was a key priority of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s legislative hearing and H.R. 945 was the only bill that expanded the clinical workforce to meet the growing demand. I urge Rep. [____] to increase the availability of behavioral health services by requesting inclusion of H.R. 945 in the Energy and Commerce Committee markup of mental health legislation. Thank you for your consideration.
Below is the correct posting for the Governor’s new executive order on Telehealth.
EO 2020-138 Emerg order – telehealth – re-issue
MMHCA would like to highlight two parts of what the governor orders at the end:
Number 5 which references the law requiring that the provider be licensed in Michigan to provide Telehealth to Michigan residents and relaxes this requirement while the state of emergency is in place.
Number 7 (b) which defines “healthcare providers” As including health professionals licensed under article 15 of the public health code which includes LPC’s. This addresses the question that seems to be asked a lot, “does this include us?”
We have included two other pieces of information: MCL 500.3476, The law requiring that providers of telehealth to Michigan residents be licensed in Michigan CLICK HERE, and the definition of telehealth in the public health code CLICK HERE.
GPS currently has two positions open for fully licensed therapists. GPS is a trauma informed practice and utilize EMDR, and other trauma informed practices. They work a lot with addiction as well as general mental health.
The GPS offices are newly remodeled and they have awesome technology! So when they resume face to face sessions (utilizing telehealth right now during COVID-19) you will have a beautiful office.
The website is down right now due to a web engineering problem with the host. But I can certainly send you some info about our practice.
GPS Guide to Personal Solutions
1801 E Saginaw St Ste 1
Lansing MI 48912
Sharing that the Governor signed the telehealth bills below into law. This legislative proposal was initiated prior to COVID and applies to the state Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan programs. It will be of interest to MMHCA members who have Medicaid clients.
June 24, 2020
Gov. Whitmer Signs Bills Increasing Health Care Access Into Law
LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Whitmer signed House Bills 5412-5416, which increase access to health care for Michiganders through telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services. The governor also signed Senate Bill 940 into law.
“I was pleased to sign bills today that will increase access to healthcare in Michigan by ensuring that telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services will be covered by insurers and by Medicaid,” said Governor Whitmer in her signing letter to the Legislature. “These bills codify significant pieces of Executive Order 2020-86, which broadly expanded access to telemedicine as part of Michigan’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the virtues of telemedicine are not unique to this moment, so Michiganders will benefit from reduced costs, increased accessibility, and lower transmission rates of infectious diseases at the doctor’s office for years to come.”
House Bills 5412, 5413, 5414, 5415, and 5416 make up a bill package designed to facilitate remote provision of healthcare services. The bills require health insurance companies and group/non-group healthcare services to cover telemedicine visits without requiring in-person visits. The bill package was sponsored by Representative Hank Vaupel, R-Howell (HB 5412), Representative Doug Wozniak, R-Shelby Twp. (HB 5413), Representative Phil Green, R-Huron Twp. (HB 5414), Representative Frank Liberati, D-Allen Park (HB 5415), and Representative Mary Whiteford, R-Allegan (HB 5416).
Senate Bill 940 delays the principal residence exemption application deadline under certain circumstances related to the COVID state of emergency. The bill was sponsored by Senator Roger Victory, R-Grand Haven.
To view the governor’s signing letter to the legislature, click the link below:
To: All Occupational and Health Professional Licensees
Dear Licensed Professional:
Please review Executive Orders 2020-114 and 2020-115 that were issued today as they may contain information directly impacting your profession.
Executive Order 2020-114 – Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19 (outlines requirements for industries to follow to protect workers and clients).
Executive Order 2020-115 – Temporary restrictions on certain events, gatherings, and businesses (expands re-opening of personal care services).
Bureau of Professional Licensing
Acuitas Recognizes Talent of One of Lansing’s Best Lobbyists
LANSING, Mich., June 2, 2020 – Lansing-based government relations firm, Acuitas, has given a team member a new title in recognition of her leadership and exemplary work on many levels.
Andrea Cascarilla was named senior legislative director at Acuitas after seven years with the company.
“As more organizations seek out our firm to achieve their government relations goals, we discovered a need to expand Andrea’s role on our team, particularly working with clients and mentoring fellow team members,” said Kevin Korpi, principal. “Andrea has served with integrity and distinction. As a lead lobbyist since nearly the beginning, she has earned a tremendous amount of respect and trust for her integral work.
Most recently, Cascarilla was recognized by state Rep. Aaron Miller, R-Sturgis, former Rep. Isaac Robinson, D-Detroit, and the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association for her work on PA 96 of 2019 – a law that ensures Michigan’s licensed professional counselors can continue to provide treatment to hundreds of thousands of residents in need.
As a result of the successful creation of PA 96, Cascarilla was recognized by the MMHCA as an honorary member of their organization. They cited her efforts of steadfastness, positive and tireless energy, and commitment as reasons for receiving the award.
The framed certificate reads, “We are proud to have engaged the very best lobbyist to support our cause for the protection of Michigan LLPC/LPC’s and have the testimony that proves it. Your expertise was evident and successful…”.
Cascarilla is responsible for managing many clients and throughout her time at Acuitas and has played a direct role in several successful appropriations efforts for clients to help them improve our state, from health care and education to infrastructure and economic development.
“Andrea’s accomplishments with Acuitas are numerous, extraordinary, and prove just how instrumental she is to the team,” said Sarah Hubbard, principal.
To learn more about Andrea, read her bio on our team page: acuitasllc.com/team member
MMHCA is very proud to have Andrea on our team! She has moved our profession forward in so many ways.
Andrea positions LLPC/LPCs to the forefront of the mental health delivery system.