PRESS RELEASE: June 5, 2017
COUNSELING ORGANIZATIONS PROPOSE PORTABILITY PROCESS TO INCREASE ACCESS TO CARE
WASHINGTON, DC – A groundbreaking collaborative effort of four major professional counseling organizations aimed at improving access to quality mental health care nationwide has resulted in a proposed uniform portability plan called the National Counselor Licensure Endorsement Process.
The four organizations – the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB), the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) – believe that a uniform licensure endorsement process will:
- Significantly increase public access to qualified care.
- Establish minimum standards for safe practice.
- Reduce administrative burdens for state regulatory boards and licensees.
- Create consistency in licensure standards across state lines.
- Ensure protection of the public and the continued development of the profession.
An overarching goal of the initiative is to move the counseling profession toward unified education standards, exam requirements and years of postgraduate experience. To see the National Counselor Licensure Endorsement Process, please go to http://www.amhca.org/portability2017.
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.
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.