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On October 17, 2020, President Trump signed S. 785, which mandates the creation of a federal government classification for mental health counselors and pressures the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase its hiring of the profession. AMHCA is very proud of its leadership role in this tremendous success for the counseling profession. Passage of S. 785 is the most significant legislative accomplishment for mental health counselors since legislation to add the profession to the Minority Fellowship Program in 2011. AMHCA Legislative Affairs consultant,  @David Bergman , posted an  #AdvocacyUpdates  in the  AMHCA community today.  AMHCA lobbying ...
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On October 17, 2020, President Trump signed S. 785, which mandates the creation of a federal government classification for mental health counselors and pressures the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase its hiring of the profession. AMHCA is very proud of its leadership role in this tremendous success for the counseling profession. Passage of S. 785 is the most significant legislative accomplishment for mental health counselors since legislation to add the profession to the Minority Fellowship Program in 2011.   Creation of an Occupational Series for mental health counselors has been a decade’s long priority for national counseling organizations. ...
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Today, 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. AMHCA Legislative Affairs consultant,  @David Bergman , posted an  #AdvocacyUpdates  in the  AMHCA community today.  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 ...
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Today, 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 ...
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Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved HR 945 in an historic vote supporting Medicare coverage for the counseling profession. While this legislation has passed both the House and Senate twice over the years, never before has the bill been voted on as a standalone measure rather than part of a broader package. AMHCA Legislative Affairs consultant, @David Bergman , posted an #AdvocacyUpdates in the AMHCA community today.   Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr’s (D-NJ) opening remarks described HR 945 as “bipartisan legislation that would improve access to mental health providers in the Medicare program by covering mental ...
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Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved HR 945 in an historic vote supporting Medicare coverage for the counseling profession. While this legislation has passed both the House and Senate twice over the years, never before has the bill been voted on as a standalone measure rather than part of a broader package. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr’s (D-NJ) opening remarks described HR 945 as “bipartisan legislation that would improve access to mental health providers in the Medicare program by covering mental health counselor and marriage and family therapist services.” The sponsors of HR 945, Congressmen Mike Thompson ...
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Angele Moss-Baker is the first Black Woman to become President of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) in its 44-year history. She is the owner of Comprehensive Addiction & Psychological Services LLC, in Washington D.C.   Angele is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Master Addiction Counselor, Employee Assistance Counselor-C, and holds the Diplomate, Clinical Mental Health Specialist in Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders.   She has over 25 years of experience providing behavioral health treatment services to diverse populations.     Moss-Baker will focus on strategy and ...
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Choosing the perfect office space for your private practice might sound exciting at first. But once you get into the nitty gritty, you realize that you might have bit off more than you can chew.   Renting an office space can feel overwhelming, not to mention scary! But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m here to offer 8 tips for choosing the right space, based on my many years of experience doing so: 1. Don't make any sudden decisions. Don’t make a quick decision simply because you feel pressured to do so. You want to make sure you feel comfortable and confident about the space that you choose. Don’t listen to the person insisting “it’s too good of ...
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AMHCA released a major report today on the number of Americans reporting mental health distress over the last few months.  Please see our new study –  Beyond the Perfect Storm – How Racism, Covid-19, and Economic Meltdown Imperil Our Mental   Health – https://www.amhca.org/publications/reports/beyond-perfect-storm  -- and our press release on the study -- https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-study-shows-more-than-100-million-americans-will-suffer-a-mental-health-disorder-this-year-301116506.html?tc=eml_cleartime   Based on the AMHCA report, nearly 41 percent of adults  nationally  are reporting that they are suffering from a mental ...
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Years ago, I had a few weeks of back and forth friendly communication with a woman who was selling her counseling practice. Finally, I decided to make an offer… which she flatly responded, “No thank you.”  I was shocked. “Have I offended you?” “No! You’ve been very polite.” “Is it an issue of money?” “No! Your price seems fair to me.” “Has another buyer expressed interest?” “No! There are no other interested parties.”  “Then what!?” “I’ve been a solo practice for a long time. I don’t like the idea of a larger practice taking over.” And that was it. To her, the thought of her practice changing was an outrage, incomprehensible. She left our negotiation ...
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The United Parkinson’s Advocacy Council sent a letter – at the urging of AMHCA -- to Congressional leaders in support of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (H.R. 945 and S. 286), that would allow clinical mental health counselors to be reimbursed for treating Medicare beneficiaries.  As a follow up to that initiative, AMHCA has been working closely with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research – a major patient advocacy group -- on policy activities related to Medicare reimbursement for the profession.  We are hopeful that such support will increase broader support of our Medicare bill in upcoming COVID-19-related economic stimulus packages ...
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The Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) is composed of 75 behavioral health organizations that share information on mental and addiction legislation, policies and regulations at the federal level.  On occasion, MHLG will send a letter to all members of Congress on a particular bill under consideration where individual MHLG members sign on and if a certain number of groups support passage of the bill, a communication on MHLG Letterhead will be sent all members of Congress and staff who are responsible for health-related policy, and federal agencies and other groups.  AMHCA was instrumental in securing the requisite number of groups to sign on to a communication ...
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The Following Statement Can be Attributed to Joel E. Miller, Executive Director and CEO, American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) All across our nation, thousands of Americans have taken to the streets in over 50 cities to protest the killing of George Floyd by a police officer who pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes as he was pinned down on the ground in handcuffs. It was a collective cry of anguish and a demand for change to what has become commonplace – the killing of unarmed black people at the hands of law enforcement.  It is easy to understand the response of multiracial protesters in Minneapolis. If you ...
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Thank you to all members who voted in our 2020 AMHCA election! It was a close race but we would like to congratulate and welcome @Beverly Smith  of Georgia as the 2020-2021 AMHCA President-Elect! We look forward to hearing your vision and plans. Thank you to @C. Rudy Guajardo  and @Ellen Papanikolaou who ran with Beverly for the President-Elect position.    Congratulations also go out to @Karen Langer  of Washington as the Western Region Director and @Jim Blundo  of Michigan as the Midwest Region Director. We are grateful for your continued service to the profession and to chapters in those regions! ​​​​​ #AMHCANews #Ne
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Submitted by @David Bergman The House released its fifth COVID-19 relief package on Tuesday and counselor Medicare language was not included.  While this is a setback, we still have the opportunity to pass of our legislation. At the direction of our congressional champions, AMHCA is now shifting our grassroots advocacy to the Senate. We are urging counselors to take up the charge and contact your Senator to add S. 286 into its COVID-19 package. The Senate timeline is unclear, but they appear on a slower track than the House so there remains time to influence the process. We will not be included in the Senate COVID legislation if U.S. Senators don’t hear ...
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Submitted by @David Bergman The House is developing its next COVID-19 relief package and counselors are urged to contact your Representative in support of including our Medicare legislation (H.R. 945 ) in it. Congress will be working through the weekend to decide what is going into the House legislation so time is of the essence. As previously reported, AMHCA is working closely with our allied organizations from counseling, MFT, and behavioral health clinics to add our language to this upcoming COVID bill. Our sponsors, Representatives Thompson (D-CA) and Katko (R-NY), are fighting hard for inclusion, but we need grassroots advocacy to support the effort. ...
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President Trump signed Economic Stimulus Package 3.5 into law on April 24, as the unemployment crisis deepened, a stark illustration of how federal policymakers continue trying to rescue an unraveling economy. The legislation will restart a small-business loan program that was swamped by early demand last month and allocate more funds for health-care providers and virus testing. Policymakers from both parties are already talking about pursuing more large spending bills to try to contain the pandemic’s economic fallout, but this recent measure could be the last one for at least several weeks as disagreements are emerging between the parties about how much more ...
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On March 28, Governor Gary Herbert signed SB 68, which modifies the clinical mental health counselor licensure requirements. The bill establishes the education requirements for licensure in statute, including a master’s or doctoral degree from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counselor and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or a clinical mental health counseling or equivalent degree that meets defined coursework requirements matching CACREP accreditation. The bill also grants a license to those receiving a master's or doctoral degree from an educational program in rehabilitation counseling accredited by CACREP until July 2022. ...
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The AMHCA Ethics Committee has developed a statement on state portability issues that has been forwarded to state counseling boards and related state agencies and officials.  As an AMHCA member, please contact your state counseling board and state legislators if they reside in the state that does not currently allow transitional sessions to make this AMHCA Ethics Committee statement a reality.     April 2020 Statement by the AMHCA Ethics Committee on “The need for States to offer licensure portability during the COVID-19 pandemic”   The coronavirus crisis has brought to light and created an urgency regarding a long-standing ethical ...
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On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, following U.S. House of Representatives action on the legislation several days earlier. President signed the bill into law immediately. The legislation focuses on the anticipated economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers and includes paid leave guarantees for certain workers, expanded food assistance and unemployment insurance benefits, and employer tax credits, among other measures. The version, however, offers fewer worker benefits and exempts more companies from paid sick leave obligations than the original version passed by the House. The legislation is the ...
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