AMHCA Message from Board Member, Eric Beeson

I want to thank you all for your continued support of one another on the forums. It is great to see this power of the collective coming together.

I am writing today to encourage another act of collective power.

As you may know, the practice privileges of clinical mental health counselors have been prohibited by the Medicare system since its inception. During the COVID-19 crisis, there are many stimulus bills being discussed and some practice guidelines are being adjusted. The next two stimulus packages, #4 and #5, that will be up for consideration in May and June provide us a tremendous opportunity to make substantial strides in our Medicare policy recommendations.

Please know that the AMHCA national office remains active and engaged in this dialogue alongside of our sibling associations across the mental health care field and Medicare Access Coalition. In May, the AMHCA National Office will be launching a coordinated effort with these groups to ensure consistency in message and power in our collective voices.

As we prepare for this major advocacy push in May, I am challenging us to begin thinking about how we will participate at an individual level.

If I don’t do it, then who will?  If we don’t, then who will?

The Challenge

Start crafting your personal messages of advocacy today.

Start crafting your message in written, audio, and video form.

In your message, consider the following:

  • Remind them of your readiness to aid in the mental health care response to COVID-19 as a clinical mental health counselor.
  • Urge the inclusion of all qualified mental health care providers, including clinical mental health counselors, in any new policy regarding the mental health care response to COVID-19 and beyond.
  • Reference H.R. 945, The Mental Health Access Improvement Act in your message.
  • Talk about why Medicare provider recognition matters to you and those you serve.

Start/continue building relationships with your policymakers, especially those on the Senate Committee on Finance: https://www.finance.senate.gov/about/membership and the Ways and Means Committee: https://waysandmeans.house.gov/about/committee-members.

So, let’s prepare and act today. Let’s act tomorrow. Let’s act until this bill becomes a reality!

Feel free to review former messages at https://www.amhca.org/advocacy/medicare, and I shared a personal example that I wrote up today, but know that many more resources and tangible next steps will be shared in the coming weeks.

Thank you all again for your time and services.

Let’s do this!

Be well,
Eric

Eric’s Sample Message:

Hello,

My name is Eric Beeson, and I am a clinical mental health counselor. As a qualified mental health care provider, I am uniquely trained and ready to assist in the mental health care response to COVID-19. I am also the 43rd president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association.

I am recognized by private insurance companies, the National health Service Corps, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and TRICARE to provide mental health care to our citizens; however, I am prohibited from doing so if a client is a Medicare beneficiary.

Therefore, I urge you to ensure that all qualified mental health care providers, including clinical mental health counselors, can practice at the top of their license and are included in any new policy that is created. This call to action aligns well with H.R. 945, The Mental Health Access Improvement Act.

People are struggling and will continue to struggle to recover from the recent pandemic. Therefore, I encourage you to eliminate barriers that prevent our citizens from accessing a ready and willing workforce of clinical mental health counselors that are ready and able to care for the mental health care needs of our citizens.

Thank you for your consideration!

Respectfully,

Eric T. Beeson, PhD

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Licensed Professional Counselors

43rd President of the American Mental Health Counselors Association

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