Advocacy in Action Updates!

Actions taken by practicing professionals, students and our lobbyists will be posted here along with information on what else needs to be done.
 Sample Posting:

 Date:  2/15/15
 Action Taken:  St. Senator "Smith," chair of Mental Health Committee, was lobbied to gain                                       his support for the diagnosis clarification bill.
 Advocate Name(s):  "Mary Jones, LMHC"
 Issue:  Need for passage of scope of practice clarification bill to open up more internships                        and jobs for Mental Health Practitioners
 Results of Action:  St. Sen. Smith agreed to co-sponsor the legislation
 Action Needed:  Professionals in Sen. Smith's district need to contact him and thank him for                              agreeing to co-sponsor the legislation, and ask for his ongoing support for                                        the bill.
         - Update:  "Paul Stevens" called Sen Smith's office to thank him him and reaffirm                                         his support for the bill.
         - Alert!  -  4/22/15  Please contact St. Senator "Smith's" office to remind him of the need for                             his support for the diagnosis bill, so the bill can move out of committee.  Please                               visit the Downloadable Documents page for more info about the legislation.
                          Contact Sen. Smith at:  -----------
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Bumper Stickers as Advocacy Tool!

There are many ways to advocate for our profession.  One way is to display a bumper sticker that advertises your status as an LMHC.  If you would like to receive one of these removable bumper stickers please email us.  
You hold the key........

Leadership is an Essential Tool of Advocacy

Advocacy is directly connected to leadership.  When you contact your legislator and ask him/her to support legislation you are a leader!  Your leadership can also encourage and inspire others to become leaders.  What makes a good leader?  Click here to find out,
 Click HERE to read a message from James K. Finley, Associate Executive    Director/Director of Public Policy, American Mental Health Counselors  Association

What mental health counselors and NYMHCA lobbyists are doing...............  

 - NYMHCA's primary focus is to resolve the diagnosis issue.  Our diagnosis bill has not advanced and was not expected to this session.  The lobbyists are working on another strategy that we will announce at a later time, but should provide a path to the passage of our bill that will include the word "diagnosis" in our scope of practice. 

9/17 Update: New bill number - S6582 (Helming) (Assembly sponsor TBA)

 - The exemption to allow state agencies to not have to hire licensed professionals has been extended for another 2 years to July of 2018.  The governor, however wants to hold meetings on how to eliminate the exemption before that date.  NYMHCA was invited to submit comments and concerns to the Governor's Office in regard to the exemption.  The fact that we were asked for our opinions is a huge step for our profession.  In the past, we were just notified of what had been decided.  Now we are being asked for our input!

9/17 Update:  The governor's office has yet to hold meetings on this issue.

- Assemblyman Harry Bronson was able to move the bill to require blanket insurance policies to provide coverage for outpatient treatment by the Mental Health Practitioners. (A6376), to the floor for a vote and it passed by an overwhelming majority!  It did not however make it to the floor of the Senate for a vote.  Once it has passed one house it is generally easier to get it passed in the other house the following year.  

9/17  Update:  This bill passed in the Assembly again but not in the Senate.  Our lobbyist Denise McGraw is now considering working to change the regulations of the law instead of going forward with legislation.

 - Our bill to include the Mental Health Practitioners as Medicaid providers passed in the Senate due to the leadership of St. Sen. Diane Savino (S2067)!  It did not however, come up for a vote in the Assembly.  

9/17 Update:  The bill was pulled from the floor of the Assembly, and did not go up for a vote.  Our lobbyist Denise McGraw is considering working with the Department of Health to see if they will revise their regulations to include the Mental Health Practitioners.

 - Please note.....a bill must pass in both houses, and have the same language before it can go to the governor for his signature.
Newly Approved Regulations for Medicaid-Based Services  

Professionals who may administer the Department of Health Complex Trauma Exposure Assessment and Complex Trauma Eligibility Determination. As well as, completing and or collecting Functional Impairment Assessments as outlined in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) guidelines for assessing Complex Trauma and NCTSN list of domain assessment tools. 

Licensed Masters Social Worker, LMSW 
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW 
Licensed Psychologist 
Licensed Psychiatrist 
Licensed Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, LNPP, 
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, LMFT, 
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC 
Pediatrician/Family Medicine Physician or Internist with specialization in Behavioral Health 

Clinicians identified include but are not limited to employees of Licensed/Certified Article 28, 31, 32, 16 clinics.

9/17 Insurance Issues Update

The last few insurance companies that have not yet accepted LMHC’s are largely based in the Buffalo area. We are finally seeing them begin to accept LMHC’s but in some cases there are restrictions that make it difficult to become providers. We fully expect that these restrictions will ease over time as they realize the benefits of having LMHC’s as providers.

-Beacon – now accepts LMHC’s with 6 years of experience. The LMHC does not need   to be supervised for those 6 years.
-IHA (Independent Health) – now accepts LMHC’s in network in primary care settings.
-Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Excellus) has changed their requirement of 10 years of     
  supervised experience post-licensure to only 6 years.

9/17  Medicare Legislation

LMHC's are urged to contact their representatives in the House of Representatives in support of HR 30032. This bill would include LMHC's and LMFT's as Medicare providers!