Quarterly Report to the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association

To:          Jim Blundo, MMHCA – Executive Director

Napoleon Harrington, MMHCA – Board President

Irene Ametrano, MMHCA – Public Policy & Licensure Committee Co-Chair

Sue Schaeffer, MMHCA – Public Policy & Licensure Committee Co-Chair

From:    Sarah Hubbard, Principal

Kevin Korpi, Principal

Andrea Cascarilla, Legislative Director

Re:         2019 Fourth Quarter Report
Date:     December 31, 2019

Direct Lobbying, Legislator Communications and Strategy Outreach:

  • Acuitas sends MMHCA a listing of all the House and Senate Committee hearings scheduled each week.
  • Acuitas also sends MMHCA hearing notes from a wide variety of committees that cover policy issues of general interest.
  • Acuitas provides MMHCA with a weekly summary of key issues addressed, pending and expected in the legislature.
  • October 1 – Andrea met with Rep. Neeley (House Ways and Means Committee member) to secure his support for HB 4325.
  • October 1 – Andrea coordinated with MMHCA to secure as many cards of support as possible for the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 1 – Andrea responded to inquiries from MMHCA regarding an MCA meeting with Sen. Lucido on HB 4325 and his related comments/recommendations.
  • October 1 – Andrea responded to attorney questions regarding provisions in HB 4325 and the need to maintain them for support.
  • October 1 – Andrea provided feedback to the Board of Counseling Chair on her testimony for the LARA rules hearing.
  • October 1 – Andrea shared information and addressed questions of the House Republican Policy Staff on HB 4325 for the Ways and Means Committee and shared all that information with Rep. Miller.
  • October 1 – Andrea advised Sue Schaeffer and Irene Ametrano on testimony for the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 1 – Andrea developed general talking points for MMHCA to share for the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 1 – Andrea spoke with LARA staff regarding the upcoming rules hearing and relayed details of what to expect to MMHCA.
  • October 1 – Andrea joined Todd Leibert for a call to discuss the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 2 – Andrea met with Rep. Wentworth (House Ways and Means Committee member) to secure his support for HB 4325.
  • October 2 – Andrea attended the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on HB 4325 and later shared news reports on the hearing with MMHCA.
  • October 2 – Andrea met with Sen. Bayer regarding HB 4325 and addressed several questions she had regarding the bill and the LARA proposed rules and to secure her support for HB 4325.
  • October 2 – Andrea printed off the 37,000 signatures from the petition supporting HB 4325 and opposing the LARA rules changes for the LARA rules hearing.
  • October 2 – Andrea briefed Brian Banks (ACA) on what to expect at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing and LARA rules hearing.
  • October 2 – Andrea spoke with LARA staff again regarding the department’s plans for the rules committee hearing and relayed to MMHCA the restrictions on time for testimony, etc.
  • October 2 – Tony sent to MMHCA the Acuitas notes from the House DHHS Appropriations Committee hearing on public behavioral health financing in Michigan.
  • October 2 – Andrea worked with MMHCA members on what to expect at the LARA rules hearing, how to coordinate testimony and provided feedback on various members’ draft testimony.
  • October 3 – Andrea met with the lobbyist for the Michigan Psychological Association, the Michigan Psychiatric Society and the Michigan State Medical Society regarding potential amendments to HB 4325 and worked with Sue Schaeffer and Irene Ametrano to rebut MPA’s arguments to support their amendments.
  • October 3 – Andrea hosted MMHCA for a strategy dinner regarding HB 4325.
  • October 3 – Andrea briefed MMHCA members on the discussions with legal counsel regarding the filing of an injunction against the LARA rules if needed.
  • October 4 – Andrea attended the public hearing on LARA’s proposed counseling rule changes and submitted testimony cards on behalf of several Board of Counseling members and MMHCA board members.
  • October 4 – Andrea spoke with Gongwer News Service regarding the LARA rules hearing and HB 4325.
  • October 4 – Andrea forwarded to MMHCA information from the MPA lobbyist regarding LPC’s adequacy of training in diagnosis and relayed responses from MMHCA back to MPA.
  • October 4 – Andrea continued to negotiate with the Michigan State Medical Society over amendments to HB 4325.
  • October 4 – Andrea spoke with LARA staff to request clarity regarding the timeline for the proposed rules.
  • October 4 — Amanda sent MMHCA the Acuitas legislative update.
  • October 6 – Andrea provided updates to MMCHA board members regarding the Senate vote tracker.
  • October 7 – Andrea met with DHHS regarding a requested technical amendment to HB 4325 and shared that with MMHCA for their review and okay.
  • October 7 – Andrea responded to CMH comments that the LARA rules wouldn’t change LPC’s scope of practice and share written arguments challenging those comments with MMHCA members.
  • October 7 – Andrea shared with MMHCA some recent news stories on HB 4325 as well as specific comments made by the MPA on NPR and recommended actions in response.
  • October 8 – Andrea spoke with the Chief of Staff for the House Ways and Means Committee chair and addressed several questions regarding amendments in advance of the hearing on HB 4325.
  • October 8 – Andrea attended the House Ways and Means Committee hearing and unanimous vote on HB 4325 and submitted cards of support for numerous MMHCA members and other individuals and organizations.
  • October 8 — Tony sent to MMHCA the Acuitas notes from the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • October 8 – Andrea attended House session for the full House vote and unanimous passage of HB 4325.
  • October 9 – Andrea met with Governor Whitmer’s Health Policy Advisor regarding HB 4325.
  • October 9 – Andrea followed up with LARA staff to confirm the status of the proposed LARA rules changes and reported back to MMHCA and recommended a strategy of action in response.
  • October 9 – Andrea worked with MMHCA members on media outreach and letters to the editor on HB 4325.
  • October 10 – Andrea notified MMHCA that HB 4325 had been officially noticed for the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee hearing.
  • October 10 – Andrea met with Sen. Santana (Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee member) to secure her support for HB 4325.
  • October 10 – Andrea spoke with Sen. VanderWall, confirmed a hearing date for HB 4325 and reported this to MMHCA.
  • October 10 – Andrea responded to all of Rep. Robinson’s questions and concerns regarding HB 4325 and the LARA rules.
  • October 11 — Amanda sent MMHCA the Acuitas legislative update.
  • October 11 – Andrea flagged for MMHCA two bills (HBs 5043-5044) that would create a standard mediation process for community mental health service provider disputes.
  • October 12 – Andrea attended a MMHCA seminar and provided a legislative update on HB 4325.
  • October 14 – Andrea coordinated with Sue Schaeffer and Irene Ametrano on their testimony in support of HB 4325 for Senate Committee and coordinated with other MMHCA members on submitting cards of support.
  • October 14 – Andrea shared the Michigan Hospital Association’s formal statement of support for HB 4325 with MMHCA.
  • October 15 – Andrea responded to reporter questions regarding HB 4325 and the LARA rules at the request of Rep. Robinson.
  • October 15 – Andrea responded to Rep. Miller’s questions about a potential amendment to HB 4325 from Sen. McBroom.
  • October 15 – Andrea and Amra compiled over 300 cards of support from LPCs and others for the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee hearing on HB 4325.
  • October 15 – Andrea shared with MMHCA the official Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee notice for HB 4325.
  • October 16 – Andrea met with Sen. McBroom regarding his proposed amendment to HB 4325.
  • October 16 – Andrea attended the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee hearing on HB 4325.
  • October 16 – Andrea informed MMHCA that HB 4325 was formally scheduled for final passage in the full Senate the following day.
  • October 16 – Andrea joined MMHCA for a strategy dinner.
  • October 17 – Andrea attended Senate session for the final vote on HB 4325 and later shared with MMHCA a Gongwer News article on the bill’s passage.
  • October 17 – Andrea responded to a variety of questions and concerns from MMHCA members regarding the Governor’s comments on HB 4325’s passage and assured them that the Governor would sign the bill into law.
  • October 18 – Andrea spoke with the Governor’s Public Relations Director regarding MMHCA concerns regarding the Governor signing the bill and relayed again that there was nothing to be concerned with.
  • October 18 — Amanda sent MMHCA the Acuitas legislative update.
  • October 21 – Andrea notified MMHCA that HB 4325 had not yet been sent to the Governor and clarified when that was expected to occur.
  • October 21 – Andrea inquired with MMHCA as to whether the proposed Medicaid policy on Limited License Psychologist enrollment and billing requirements was of any interest.
  • October 22 – Andrea informed MMHCA that the state received a $3.4 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to conduct a needs assessment of substance abuse disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery provider capacity for the state’s Medicaid program and inquired about any comments MMHCA may wish to make regarding the study.
  • October 22 – Andrea began coordinating with the Governor’s office for the HB 4325 bill signing with MMHCA.
  • October 23 – Tony sent MMHCA the Acuitas notes from the House DHHS Appropriations Committee hearing on the behavioral health integration.
  • October 23 – Andrea notified Jim Blundo about the House Regulatory Reform Committee hearing on emotional support animals and comments about counselors’ involvement with the abuse of these “prescriptions” and provided him with background information.
  • October 23 – Andrea provided the Michigan State Medical Society and MPS lobbyist with information on the number of states (32) that explicitly allow LPC’s to diagnose.
  • October 24 – Andrea notified MMHCA of the upcoming November Board of Counseling meeting notice and agenda.
  • October 24 – Andrea provided the Governor’s office with the list of MMHCA attendees for the bill signing and continued to work to finalize the location for the signing.
  • October 25 – Andrea attended the MMHCA Washtenaw County member meeting with Rep. Lasinski, Sen. Irwin and Sen. Theis and provided a legislative update.
  • October 25 — Amanda sent MMHCA the Acuitas legislative update.