by MMHCA | May 24, 2023 | Uncategorized
The Department of Counseling at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, is seeking applicants for a 1-year visiting faculty position available beginning August 15, 2023. The position will be a full-time appointment with the possibility of Summer teaching. Responsibilities include teaching and service activities. A specialist in school counseling is preferred. We will begin reviewing applications on May 15, 2023, and continue reviewing applications until the position is filled. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to experience with our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
by MMHCA | May 11, 2023 | Uncategorized
The new Administrative Rules were filed with the Secretary of State and went into effect on April 26, 2023.
Here is a link to the new rule set (R 338.1751-R 338.1781)
MMHCA has highlighted changes from the previous rule set that you should be aware of. Note that we are not reviewing all the rules, just changes.
338.1751(f): Defines “supervisor” as a Licensed Professional Counselor who has received training in counseling supervision (as defined later in the Rules 338.1781)
338.1751(g): Supervisors must be licensed as professional counselors in Michigan and satisfy requirements to be a supervisor. If the supervisor is out-of-state, they must substantially meet the requirements for a professional counselor license and counselor supervisor in Michigan.
338.1774 (2): For Michigan LLPCs, the supervisor must be a Michigan licensed professional counselor in good standing throughout the period of supervision
338.1781(c): Supervisors beginning to supervise after May 5, 2022 must have acquired not less than 5 years of post-master’s experience in the practice of counseling
338.1774 (c)(i) and (ii): Allows 100 percent of face-to-face supervision hours to be virtual if they allow 2-way real-time audiovisual technology that allows direct contemporaneous interaction supervision by sight and sound between supervisor and supervisee. (Be aware that this requirement requires that you see and hear the supervisee in real time.)
338 .1774 (c)(i) and (ii): Clarifies that LLPCs must be supervised from the time their limited license (LLPC) is issued until their LPC license is issued.
338.1772 (d): Requires that LLPC applicants submit a separate statement identifying their supervisor and the supervisor’s qualifications, including how that supervisor satisfies Michigan requirements to be a supervisor.
338.1777 (4): Hardship exemptions for extending the 10-year period that a limited license may be held are clarified. The process and timeline for such requests, as well as the information the request must include, are explained.
338.1758. Specifies new requirements for providing telehealth services.
by MMHCA | Mar 22, 2021 | Uncategorized
PA 96 includes no new continuing education (CE) requirements. What follows is MMHCA’s POSITION about the issue of CE requirements:
As we were writing HB 4325, which was signed into law as PA 96 of 2019, we used model licensure language, and added additional language to address issues that we were facing in Michigan. One of the areas of research and consideration was what we would do about a CE requirement. The research is very clear that requiring a certain number of hours of continuing education does not ensure continuing competence, which is the purpose of requiring it. The main benefactors of requiring a certain number of hours of continuing education for relicensure are those who provide continuing education. While not ensuring increased competence, requiring a certain number of hours of continuing education for relicensure often puts an undue financial burden on licensees. It is even possible to purchase certificates for continuing education online without actually participating in a program!
For all these reasons, we chose not to give in to the pressure of requiring a certain number of CEUs for counselors to maintain their licenses simply because other professions do so. Our new license is considered the gold standard for counseling licenses across the country. We did not want to tarnish it with an inappropriate and ineffective requirement.
We also looked at the issue of continuing competence, something some states have included in their law. For those states who have this requirement, continuing competence can be demonstrated in a number of ways. Continuing education is usually one of those ways, but also such activities as publications in journals, professional presentations, and participation in professional organizations are ways to demonstrate continuing competence. Again, we looked at whether this was something that should be included in our law. To include such a requirement, we would need to demonstrate that there was a need for such a requirement. Looking at the nature of complaints against counselors in Michigan over the past 20 years, it became clear that there was not a need for such a continuing competence requirement in our law at this time.
All that said, our new law does require continuing education in a way that is appropriate and makes sense. Our law clearly states that LPCs may only do those things in their scope of practice for which they are trained. What that means is that if an LPC chooses to add something new to their practice, perhaps a new technique or way of working with clients (such as EMDR or Hypnosis), they would need to get training in that technique. If they wanted to add a new assessment instrument, they would need to get training in that instrument. If they wanted to work in a new setting, such as an integrated care setting, they would need to be able to demonstrate that they had appropriate training to do that work.
It makes so much more sense to require continuing education that is relevant and appropriate rather than simply require a certain number of hours in a certain timeframe. We believe that the way we chose to do continuing education in our new law is far superior to what other professions and laws have chosen to do. MMHCA is committed to continuing to provide high-quality continuing education programs for counselors and other mental health professionals which are truly focused on helping them to grow as professionals. And while we do offer CEUs for those who need them, our true goal is to offer programs that professionals attend, not to check off a box on a form, but because these programs are truly relevant to their practice and professional growth.
by MMHCA | Dec 23, 2020 | Uncategorized
December 21, 2020
There is no doubt that 2020 has been an extraordinary year in many ways.
And I know that many of you cannot wait for 2021 to come and put this year behind you.
At AMHCA it has been year of adaptation, flexibility, and resilience – and many accomplishments.
Each member of our staff team worked so hard to think outside of the box and find creative ways to continue to serve clinical mental health counselors (CMHCs). It has been so inspiring to watch everyone dedicate such tremendous amounts of time and energy to finding solutions to the challenges that came up due to the pandemic.
But before I talk about AMHCA and accomplishments on behalf of our members, I want to talk about your accomplishments and thank you for all your contributions to American society during a very difficult year, and your continued support of AMHCA.
Ensuring access to mental health and addiction treatment could not be more urgent or important at this time. As we reported in our meta-study in August, we revealed that symptoms of anxiety disorder were approximately three times higher and prevalence of depression about four times higher among adults during the third quarter of 2020 compared with the same time in 2019. Meanwhile, overdoses have spiked during the pandemic with more than 40 states reporting increased opioid-related deaths. Suicide rates have continued to increase, up 35 percent between 1999 and 2019 with early indications of additional increases in suicides more recently.
The Covid-19 pandemic is uniquely intertwined with behavioral health conditions. Research has found that substance use disorders constitute a risk factor for Covid-19. In addition, recent findings point to increased risk of mental health conditions (anxiety and depression, in particular) among those who contract Covid-19, as well as an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 among those with preexisting mental health conditions.
Since the onset of the pandemic, clinical mental health counselors – serving as primary mental health providers on the frontlines of our behavioral health system — have been intensely focused on implementing many new practices and protocols to address the increased demand for behavioral health care while preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Clinical mental health counselors have developed and implemented new screening measures as well as greatly expanding the use of tele-mental health to provide care.
Your dedication to your clients and resilience have not gone unnoticed as we regularly have discussions with policymakers and stakeholders throughout the health care delivery system about your efforts, who recognize your outstanding caregiving skills as primary mental health caregivers to address the needs of people with mental health conditions during this tough period.
It is honor and privilege to represent you, and thank you for all you do.
In return, I want to highlight what we have tried to do on your behalf on a number of association fronts.
As we have the opportunity to hear from AMHCA members, I am inspired by the incredible work that you continue to do during these difficult times. Through many strenuous challenges, we have learned how to connect and re-connect with each other in new and innovative ways.
However, with all that we have been able to accomplish this year, I am left with a feeling of hope. I know that together, we will continue to push forward, learn, adapt, and grow. Thank you again for what you do.
I hope this holiday season brings you much joy – and wishing you a healthy and prosperous New Year!
Joel E. Miller, CEO and Executive Director, American Mental Health Counselors Association
by MMHCA | Nov 1, 2020 | Uncategorized
New DHHS Epidemic Order
On 10/30/2020, the previous MDHHS order expires and a new one goes into effect. The new order remains in effect until rescinded.
DHHS is not imposing a stay at home order under the epidemic order issued yesterday, but is placing restrictions on public, workplace and other gatherings. There doesn’t appear to be anything in the latest order that explicitly prohibits an LPC from meeting in-person with a client (so long as face masks and social distancing requirements are met). There also is nothing in the order that requires counseling services to be provided in-person. DHHS is recommending that anyone who can work from home do so. (Please see the attached DHHS infographic on the 10.29.20 order.) We have highlighted relevant provisions in the current order by making them a larger font size.
- “Child care organizations” means that term as defined by section 1(b) of the Child Care Organizations Act, 1973 PA 116, as amended, MCL 722.111(b)) and day, residential, travel, and troop camps for children (as defined by Rule 400.11101 of the Michigan Administrative Code).
- “Face mask” means a tightly woven cloth or other multi-layer absorbent material that closely covers an individual’s mouth and nose.
- “Food service establishment” means that term as defined in section 1107(t) of the Food Law, 2000 PA 92, as amended, MCL 289.1107(t).
- “Employee” means that term as defined in section 2 of the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, 2018 PA 337, as amended, MCL 408.932, and also includes independent contractors.
- “Gathering” means any occurrence, either indoor or outdoor, where two or more persons from more than one household are present in a shared space.
- “Organized sports” means competitive athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and organized by a sports organizer.
- “Sports Organizer” means an institution, association, or other organization that sets and enforces rules to ensure the physical health and safety of all participants for an organized sport.
- “Recreational sports and exercise facilities” means a location in which individuals participate in individual or group physical activity, including, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, exercise studios, bowling centers, roller rinks, ice rinks, and trampoline parks.
- “Symptoms of COVID-19” means fever, uncontrolled cough, or atypical new onset of shortness of breath or at least 2 of the following not explained by a known physical condition: loss of taste or smell, muscle aches, sore throat, severe headache, diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. Per section 1(h) of PA 238 of 2020, this definition represents the latest medical guidance, and serves as the controlling definition.
- General capacity limitations at gatherings.
- Indoor gatherings are permitted only as follows:
- 10 or fewer persons are gathered at a residence;
- 50 or fewer persons are gathered in a non-residential venue without fixed seating, and attendance is limited to 20 persons per 1,000 square feet in each occupied room;
- 500 or fewer persons are gathered in a non-residential venue with fixed seating, and attendance is limited to 20% of seating capacity of the venue; and
- At non-residential gatherings, all persons wear a face mask;
- Outdoor gatherings are permitted only as follows:
- 100 or fewer persons are gathered at a residence;
- At non-residential venues:
- 1,000 or fewer persons are gathered at a venue without fixed seating, and attendance is limited to 30 persons per 1,000 square feet, including within any distinct area within the event space;
- 1,000 or fewer persons are gathered at a venue with fixed seating, and attendance is limited to 30% of seating capacity of the venue; and
- All persons wear a face mask.
- The limitations to the size of gatherings in sections 2(a) and 2(b) do not apply to:
- Incidental, temporary gatherings of persons in a shared space, such as frequently occur in an airport, bus station, factory floor, food service establishment, shopping mall, public pool, or workplace.
- Voting or election-related activities at polling places;
- Training of law enforcement, correctional, medical, or first responder personnel, insofar as those activities cannot be conducted remotely;
- Organized sports gatherings held in accordance with section 5 of this order;
- Students in a classroom setting;
- Children in a daycare setting; or
- Persons traveling on a school bus or other public transit.
- As a condition of hosting a gathering, organizers and venues hosting gatherings described in sections 2(a) and 2(b) must design the gathering to encourage and maintain physical distancing, and must ensure that persons not part of the same household maintain six feet of distance from one another to the extent possible. For all non-residential gatherings, if attendees are seated at tables, no more than six persons may share a table and tables must be spaced a minimum of 6 feet apart.
- Gathering restrictions for particular types of facilities. In addition to the gathering limitations set forth in section 2, and as a condition of permitting gatherings within the facilities described in this section, the following capacity limitations apply:
- A gathering at a retail store, library, or museum must not exceed 50% of total occupancy limits established by the State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal.
- A gathering at recreational sports and exercise facilities:
- Must not exceed 25% of the total occupancy limits established by the State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal, and;
- Must have at least six feet of distance between each workout station.
- Gatherings in waiting rooms at outpatient health-care facilities, veterinary clinics, personal care services, and other businesses are prohibited unless the facility implements a system to ensure that persons not of the same household maintain six feet of distance. To the extent possible, this system must include a policy that patients wait in their cars for their appointments to be called.
- A gathering at an outdoor pool must not exceed 50% of bather capacity limits described in Rule 325.2193 of the Michigan Administrative Code.
- A gathering at an indoor pool must not exceed 25% of bather capacity limits described in Rule 325.2193 of the Michigan Administrative Code.
- A gathering at non-tribal casinos must not exceed 15% of total occupancy limits established by the State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal.
- Food service establishment gathering restrictions.
- In addition to the gathering limits set forth in section 2, gatherings in food service establishments are prohibited as follows:
- In indoor common areas in which people can congregate, dance, or otherwise mingle;
- If there is less than six feet of distance between each party;
- If the number of persons at a table exceeds 6;
- If the number of patrons in the restaurant exceeds 50% of normal seating capacity;
- Anywhere alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption onsite, unless parties are seated and separated from one another by at least six feet, and do not intermingle; and
- If they involve any persons not seated at a table or at the bar top (customers must wait outside the food service establishment if table or bar top seating is unavailable).
- In the event that an employee of a food service establishment is confirmed positive for COVID-19 or shows symptoms of COVID-19 while at work, a gathering at that food service establishment is prohibited until the food service establishment has been deep cleaned consistent with Food and Drug Administration and CDC guidance.
- Organized sports gathering restrictions. Gatherings for the purpose of organized sports are prohibited unless the gathering meets all the following conditions:
- Athletes wear a face mask (except when swimming), or consistently maintain six feet of physical distance (except for occasional and fleeting moments) when training for, practicing for, or competing in an organized sport. Any sport in which the participants are not able to consistently maintain six feet of distance, (including, for example, football, soccer, basketball, or volleyball) must wear a face mask. Athletes may also fulfill the face mask requirement through compliance with the MDHHS guidance on Additional Measures for Safer Athletic Practice and Play.
- Sports organizers ensure that athletes comply with this section for each organized sporting event; and
- Sports organizers and venues ensure either that the live audience for organized sport competitions is limited to the guests of the athletes (requiring face masks as specified in this order), with each athlete designating up to two guests, or that the event complies with gathering requirements in section 2 of this order.
- Face mask requirement at gatherings.
- Except as permitted in section 7, all persons participating in non-residential gatherings are required to wear a face mask. Persons participating in residential gatherings are strongly encouraged to wear a face mask.
- Public transit systems, including buses and cars for hire, must require use of face masks, and must enforce physical distancing among all patrons to the extent feasible.
- Except as provided elsewhere in this order, a person responsible for a business, store, office, government office, school, organized event, or other operation, or an agent of such person, must prohibit gatherings of any kind unless the person requires individuals in such gatherings (including employees) to wear a face mask, and denies entry or service to all persons refusing to wear face masks while gathered.
- A person responsible for a business, store, office, government office, school, organized event, or other operation, or an agent of such person, may not assume that someone who enters the facility without a face mask falls within one of the exceptions specified in section 7 of this order, including the exception for individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face mask. An individual’s verbal representation that they are not wearing a face mask because they fall within a specified exception, however, may be accepted.
- A person responsible for a child-care organization or camp, or an agent of such person, must not allow gatherings unless face masks are worn by all staff. Children must wear face masks as indicated below:
- All children 2 years and older when on a school bus or other transportation provided by the child-care organization or camp;
- All children 4 years and older when in indoor hallways and common areas;
- All children 5 years and older when in classrooms, homes, cabins, or similar indoor settings.
- Exceptions to face mask requirements.Although a face mask is strongly encouraged even for individuals not required to wear one (except for children under the age of 2), the requirement to wear a face mask in this order does not apply to individuals who:
- Are younger than 5 years old, outside of child-care organization setting (which are subject to requirements set out in section 6(e);
- Cannot medically tolerate a face mask;
- Are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment;
- Are exercising outdoors and able to consistently maintain six feet of distance from others;
- Are swimming;
- Are receiving a service for which removal of the face mask is necessary;
- Are asked to temporarily remove a face mask for identification purposes;
- Are communicating with someone who is deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing and whose ability to see the mouth is essential to communication;
- Are actively engaged in a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel, and where wearing a face mask would seriously interfere in the performance of their public safety responsibilities;
- Are at a polling place for purposes of voting in an election;
- Are engaging in a religious service; or
- Are giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience, provided that the audience is at least six feet away from the speaker.
- Contact tracing requirements for particular gatherings.
- Gatherings are prohibited at the following facilities unless the facility maintains accurate records, including date and time of entry, names of patrons, and contact information, to aid with contact tracing, and denies entry for a gathering to any visitor who does not provide, at a minimum, their name and phone number:
- All businesses or operations that provide barbering, cosmetology services, body art services (including tattooing and body piercing), tanning services, massage services, or similar personal care services;
- Recreational sports and exercise facilities, and entertainment facilities (except for outdoor, non-ticketed events), including arenas, cinemas, concert halls, performance venues, sporting venues, stadiums and theaters, as well as places of public amusement, such as amusement parks, arcades, and bingo halls;
- All businesses or operations that provide in-home services, including cleaners, repair persons, painters, and the like must not permit their employees to gather with clients unless the business maintains accurate appointment records, including date and time of service, name of client, and contact information, to aid with contact tracing.
- All dine-in food service establishments must maintain accurate records of the names and phone numbers of patrons who purchase food for consumption on the premises, and the date and time of entry.
- Upon request, businesses, schools, and other facilities must provide names and phone numbers of individuals with possible COVID-19 exposure to MDHHS and local health departments to aid in contact tracing and case investigation efforts.
- Nothing in this order modifies, limits, or abridges protections provided by state or federal law for a person with a disability.
- Under MCL 333.2235(1), local health departments are authorized to carry out and enforce the terms of this order.
- Law enforcement officers, as defined in the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards Act, 1965 Public Act 203, MCL 28.602(f), are deemed to be “department representatives” for purposes of enforcing this order, and are specifically authorized to investigate potential violations of this order. They may coordinate as necessary with the appropriate regulatory entity and enforce this order within their jurisdiction.
- Neither a place of religious worship nor its owner is subject to penalty under this order for allowing religious worship at such place. No individual is subject to penalty under this order for engaging in religious worship at a place of religious worship.
- Consistent with MCL 333.2261, violation of this order is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or a fine of not more than $200.00, or both.
- The October 9, 2020 order entitled Gathering Prohibition and Mask Order is rescinded. Nothing in this order affects any prosecution or civil citation based on conduct that occurred before the effective date of this order.
- Consistent with any rule or emergency rule promulgated and adopted in a schedule of monetary civil penalties under MCL 333.2262(1) and applicable to this order, violations of this order are also punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000 for each violation or day that a violation continues.
- If any provision of this order is found invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, whether in whole or in part, such decision will not affect the validity of the remaining part of this order.
This order is effective immediately, except for section 8(c), which takes effect on November 2, 2020. This order remains in effect until rescinded. Persons with suggestions and concerns are invited to submit their comments via email to COVID19@michigan.gov.
by MMHCA | Oct 21, 2020 | Uncategorized
CMHCs Can Help Black Clients Through Pain and Suffering
Napoleon Harrington, LPC, NCC, is the founder and therapist of the Ambassador Counseling & Resource Group (ACRG), a counseling organization dedicated to providing people with proficient assessment, counseling, and training services. An award-winning adjunct faculty member, he has been recognized for his academic and professional contributions to colleagues and undergraduates. In addition to being regularly invited by media outlets to discuss mental health, wellness, and psychology-related topics, his community involvement won him induction into the “Elite 40 under 40 of Oakland County,” and he is the immediate past-president of the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
Whether fast asleep at home or out jogging in their residential neighborhood, Black people are more vulnerable to experience unparalleled bias and social dangers in American society. The intensity of racism, privilege, and power in our society and its systems has created an undercurrent of prejudice and discrimination as a daily experience.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
by MMHCA | Oct 18, 2020 | Uncategorized
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020
AG, LARA Urge Licensees to Beware of Phishing Emails
Michigan licensees refers to anyone who holds a professional license issued by LARA, such as those under the Public Health Code, the Occupational Code and other relevant statutes.
“Scammers will stop at nothing to cheat someone out of their personal information and hard-earned money,” said Attorney General Nessel. “My office provides a library of resources for Michiganders to ensure they know how to spot and stop attempts to rob them of their personal information. We all must look for warning signs such as misspelled words, unrecognizable email addresses and suspicious links in the emails we receive.”
Attorney General Nessel wants consumers to keep the following in mind:
- Misspelled words or poor grammar in the subject line or body of the email are red flags identifying a scam.
- The name listed on the “from” line is not always an indication of who is emailing you. Pay close attention to the actual email address. If that email address doesn’t match up with what you know to be correct or is abnormally long, it’s likely a phishing scam.
- Always be cautious of any unsolicited requests for any personal information. LARA will not contact you directly asking for personal information.
- Do not respond to, or open hyperlinks in email or text messages about validating your personal data.
Remember: Do not reply to any suspicious emails and never provide personal information. If personal information is compromised, it may be used to commit identity theft or in other fraud schemes.
by MMHCA | Oct 13, 2020 | Uncategorized
IMPORTANT MMHCA UPDATE
Since the Michigan Supreme Court issued its ruling on 10/2/2020 striking down the 1945 law which was the basis of the Governor’s declaration of emergency and related executive orders, our authority to do virtual supervision and provide telehealth has been up in the air. MMHCA has been working with both the Governor’s office and the Legislature to seek clarification.
On 10/9/2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new order which rescinds the order previously issued on 10/5/2020 and which is effective through 10/30/2020. The new order is accompanied by a fact sheet which first defines a workplace gathering as follows: “Gathering means any occurrence where two or more persons from more than one household are present in a shared space. Except for incidental gatherings in a shared space, all gatherings must include 6 feet of social distance between households.”
The fact sheet goes on to say: “Workplace gatherings are prohibited under the following circumstances: it is not necessary to perform job duties; employees not wearing face coverings cannot maintain six feet of distance from others; employees not wearing face coverings occupy the same shared space; if they include any person who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who is subject to a CDC recommendation to isolate or quarantine.”
Because both a counseling session and a clinical supervision session can fall under this definition of “gathering”, and the order stipulates that such gatherings are “prohibited if not necessary to perform job duties”, this seems to give us some authority as LPC’s/LLPC’s to continue to provide telehealth and to do supervision remotely.
And while legislation has been passed stipulating that Medicaid will continue to reimburse for telehealth, it is not clear what private insurers will do. SB 898 provides for the following: “If a service is provided through telemedicine under this section, the insurer shall provide the same coverage for that service as if the service involved face-to-face contact between the health care professional and the patient.”
At a hearing on 10/7/2020, MMHCA Past-President Napoleon Harrington provided compelling testimony In support of this bill on behalf of MMHCA. Other groups testified against the bill. There was no vote on the bill, and a subsequent hearing will be held, probably after the election.
by MMHCA | Oct 6, 2020 | Uncategorized
MDHHS issues Emergency Order designed to protect the health and safety of all Michiganders
Directive restricts gatherings, requires face coverings, limits bars and other venues
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon today issued an Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces and places limitations on bars and other venues.
The order follows the Michigan Supreme Court decision on Friday, Oct 2, that invalidated COVID-19 related executive orders. Today’s order relies on authorities that were first enacted after the Spanish Flu of 1918, and that were not at issue in the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision.
“When it comes to fighting COVID-19, we are all in this together. We need Michiganders everywhere to do their part by wearing masks and practicing safe physical distancing so we can keep our schools and small businesses open and protect the brave men and women serving on the front lines of this crisis,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “The epidemic order that Director Gordon issued today is an important step to protect Michiganders across the state from the spread of COVID-19. Let’s all mask up and stay safe.”
Under MCL 333.2253, if the MDHHS director determines that control of an epidemic is necessary to protect the public health, the director by emergency order may prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose and may establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to insure continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws. Gordon shares more about the reasoning behind the order in a recent column.
Violations of this order are punishable by a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months or a fine of not more than $200, or both. Violations of this order are also punishable by a civil fine of fine of up to $1,000.
“Michigan was hit hard by COVID-19 early in the pandemic,” said Gordon. “Strict preventive measures and the cooperation of Michiganders drove those numbers down dramatically, greatly reducing the loss of life. As we head into flu season, this order is necessary to protect vulnerable individuals, ensure the health care system can provide care for all health issues, keep schools open, and maintain economic recovery.”
Today’s orders largely reinstate, under the department’s authority, three major aspects of prior emergency orders:
- Requirements to wear masks at indoor and outdoor gatherings: The order requires individuals to wear masks when in gatherings, defined as any occurrence where persons from multiple households are present in a shared space in a group of two or more, and requires businesses and government offices to enforce those requirements for gatherings on their premises. The order also requires the wearing of masks at schools, except for in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
- Limitations on the size of gatherings: The order reinstates limitations on gathering sizes that mirror the requirements that Governor Whitmer had previously put in place. These include indoor gatherings of more than 10 and up to 500 people occurring at a non-residential venue are permitted within the following limits:
- In venues with fixed seating, limit attendance to 20% of normal capacity. However, gatherings up to 25% of normal capacity are permitted in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
- In venues without fixed seating, limit attendance to 20 persons per 1,000 square feet in each occupied room. However, gatherings of up to 25 persons per 1,000 square feet are permitted in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
- Non-residential outdoor gatherings of between 100 and 1,000 persons at venues with fixed seating are permitted at up to 30% of normal capacity and at 30 persons per 1,000 square feet at venues without fixed seating.
- Limitations on certain establishments: Although the order does not close bars, it requires them to close indoor common areas where people can congregate, dance or otherwise mingle. Indoor gatherings are prohibited anywhere alcoholic beverages are sold except for table services where parties are separated from one another by at least six feet.
In addition, athletes training or practicing for or competing in an organized sport must wear a facial covering, except when swimming, or consistently maintain six feet of social distance.
Pursuant to MCL 333.2235(1), local health departments are authorized to carry out and enforce the terms of this order. Law enforcement officers, as defined in the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards Act, 1965 Public Act 203, MCL 28.602(f), are deemed to be “department representatives” for purposes of enforcing this order, and are specifically authorized to investigate potential violations of this order. They may coordinate as necessary with the appropriate regulatory entity and enforce this order within their jurisdiction.
This order is effective immediately and remains in effect through Friday, Oct. 30. Individuals with suggestions and concerns are invited to submit comments via email to COVID19@michigan.gov.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
by MMHCA | Oct 3, 2020 | Uncategorized
From MMHCA’s Public Policy Committee: The Michigan Supreme Court ruled on 10/2/2020 that the 1945 Law which gave the Governor the authority to declare a state of emergency and related executive orders was unconstitutional. While it is unclear exactly when this ruling will go into effect, there seems to be bipartisan consensus that it is not yet in effect. It is also highly likely that some provisions of the executive orders will continue under alternative authorities.
While this situation is getting sorted out by lawyers and the courts, MMHCA recommends LPCs continue working as they have been for the last several months (teletherapy if possible, providing supervision virtually, etc.).
MMHCA, due to the strong relationships it has built, is in touch in coordination with our lobbyist, with both the Governor’s office and the legislature, which allows us to be informed at the highest level. Please be assured that MMHCA is closely monitoring the situation and will keep you updated and informed in the most timely manner possible.