New Licensure Rules Now in Effect as of May 2023

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.

Supervisor Requirements

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

Supervision Requirements

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.

LLPC Applications

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.

Telehealth

338.1758. Specifies new requirements for providing telehealth services.

PA 96 includes no new continuing education (CE) requirements.

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.

CMHCs Can Help Black Clients Through Pain and Suffering

CMHCs Can Help Black Clients Through Pain and Suffering

“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

AG, LARA Urge Licensees to Beware of Phishing Emails

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

AG, LARA Urge Licensees to Beware of Phishing Emails

LANSING – To ensure Michiganders are aware of the continued attempts to obtain their personal information, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is drawing attention to an urgent alert issued by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). This alert warns residents to beware of phishing emails sent to Michigan licensees by scammers impersonating LARA officials.

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.

State of Michigan licensees have reported receiving fraudulent emails similar to the example linked here with numerous grammatical errors.

“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.

More details on how Michiganders can protect their personal information are available on the Consumer Protection Team’s webpage.

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Congress Passes Landmark VA Mental Health Counselor Bill

This is great news for Counselors in Michigan!

September 24, 2020

Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved S. 785, sending a major VA mental health and counseling bill to President Trump for signature.  The bill is the most significant new legislation for the counseling profession in over a decade and a tremendous advancement for mental health counselors working for the federal government, and particularly the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This historic legislation directs the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to create the first ever federal government classification for mental health counselors, referred to as an Occupational Series. The Series will allow counselors to work in federal government agencies under the title of mental health counselor instead of generic Series that apply to many professions. Social workers and psychologists have had their own Occupational Series for decades and it is past time counselors have the same level of recognition. Creation of an Occupational Series for mental health counselors has been a top federal priority for national counseling organizations for many years and is a hard won success.

S. 785, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, also takes several steps to increase the hiring, training, and advancement of mental health counselors within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The bill requires the Comptroller General of the United States to prepare a study on staffing levels of mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists. The study will identify “impediments to carry out the education, training, and hiring of mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists”, as well as a “description of the objectives, goals, and timing of the Department with respect to increasing the representation of such counselors and therapists.” The bill also creates scholarships for counselors interested in working for the VA Readjustment Counseling Program.AMHCA lobbying firm, Bergman Strategies, worked closely with Members and staff from the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees to develop and advance this important legislation. AMHCA was the only counseling organization to help shepherd this bill through both chambers, but partnered with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy / California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

S. 785 was introduced by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), the Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC). These Senators are long-term champions for increased recognition of mental health counselors, Senator Moran having introduced the original House bill that opened the VA to the profession in 2006. The SVAC passed the bill in December 2019, but the bill really started to gain steam when it passed the Senate on August 5, 2020.

AMHCA and AAMFT/CAMFT lobbyists had been working with the House Veteran Affairs Committee (HVAC) on companion legislation, but efforts intensified after Senate passage. Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT) introduced H.R. 8145 on September 1, a standalone bill that matched the counselor components in S. 785. The legislation was included in a September 10 hearing and September 17 markup. House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) and his staff showed strong commitment to the counselor legislation and ensured that it was maintained throughout the process.

S. 785 will be sent to President Trump for signature. The legislation requires creation of the counselor Occupational Series within one year from enactment. There is no timeframe for the Comptroller report on VA staffing, but it must be reported to the House and Senate Committees within 90 days of completion.

The passage of legislation to create an Occupational Series for mental health counselors is a tremendous success for the counseling profession and AMHCA is proud to have played such a pivotal role in its achievement. The Series will increase federal government recognition and hiring of mental health counselors. S. 785 will also expand employment and training of mental health counselors within the VA, a long-term priority of the association. AMHCA wants to thank Senators Tester and Moran, as well as Representatives Takano, Brownley, and Hayes for their commitment to this important legislation.