Legislative Update Diagnose for Professional Counselors

Medicaid Expansion or to Block Grant for Medicaid, what you need to know
Currently not all Licensed Mental Health Professionals are included in Medicaid as providers due to the Federal government Health and Human Services oversight of the program. (No LPCs or LMFT or LCSW as Medicaid independent providers)

Since 2014 our GA state agencies (DBHDD and DCH) have been asking the Federal Health and Human Services to allow Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) to be included as providers. The initial push, in early 2014, to add MH professionals was by Carl Johnson, LMFT and retired CEO of the GA Marriage and Family Therapist Association (GAMFT.org) as they were the first to add the word “diagnose” to their scope of practice, Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) followed in 2016.
The Federal HHS dept. reply in 2014…”It will take a few years to write policy (and paperwork) to allow LPCs and LMFTs to provide services” to Georgia Medicaid clients Carl reported back to us. It is 2018 and still no word as to when policy will be re-written to include LPCs and LMFTs
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) which are required, by law (O.C.G.A. 43-10A) to have Masters degrees, four years of internship, pass a national exam and licensed under the Sec. of State, are not allowed to provide direct services to Medicaid clients. We have been told this is the same for Licensed Clinical Social Workers. If there is an “expansion” there will be more clients but no increase in providers. Just increasing the lack of work force.
A Medicaid Block Grant, would allow our Georgia Leaders to decide who can be a provider, not the federal government. DBHDD already re-wrote policy to include LPCs and MFT. The Block Grant would allow DBHDD to include LPCs and MFTs to be direct Medicaid providers. This would add approx. 10,000 more Mental Health Professionals allowing our citizens to have a choice of providers. It would also allow our Governor to be the final voice on services, not the federal government.
Currently, we know that Georgia has an extreme lack of health care providers. Medicaid expansion will add to the burden of lack of work force. Unless the Federal government changes the policy to allow LPCs and LMFTs to provide services. A Medicaid Block grant will add more providers of services, more jobs, and improve care and options for our citizens. Making Georgia a more progressive state to live in.
“The inability to access treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders is leading to the loss of parents, children, friends, and co-workers,” said Eve Byrd, director of the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, started by former first lady Rosalynn Carter more than 20 years ago. “Individuals and families need to understand their rights and should not have to risk financial ruin to pay for treatment not covered by their health insurance
Georgia gets ‘D’ on handling mental health, addiction like other medical issues, report says.
https://www.paritytrack.org/mhpaea-10th-anniversary/?utm_source=tkf&utm_medium=offline&utm_campaign=mhpaea10&utm_content=anniversary
“The inability to access treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders is leading to the loss of parents, children, friends, and co-workers,” said Eve Byrd, director of the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, started by former first lady Rosalynn Carter more than 20 years ago. “Individuals and families need to understand their rights and should not have to risk financial ruin to pay for treatment not covered by their health insurance.”


A new Governor
A new Lt. Governor
A new Secretary of State
Many of our most important supporters are leaving the House of Representatives.
Who is going to protect your right to work?
LPCA Board of Directors, Volunteers, and Staff who worked more than 35 years to get 10-13 and Diagnose, those privileges can be taken away or restrictions can be placed you rights to practice.

========Who supported you? ===

GA Senate Bill 319- Diagnose for Counselors is passed into law. 2016 LPCA successful worked with our Lawmakers to add the word "Diagnose" to your Scope of Practice, the law. O.C.G.A. 43-10A.   It was a very difficult fight.  For some reason Democratic Party did not support LPCs.  Historically they have always supported Social Workers.  Our Sponsor Senator Lester Jackson went against his own party to fight for you. 


Why did we need to have the word diagnose added to the Professional Counselor law? In Georgia, Counselors were using the words "diagnostic impressions". The Federal Government now requires the word diagnose to be in the law under the Scope of Practice. Late in 2015 Insurance companies, with state and/or government contracts, discovered that LPCs could no longer be reimbursed without the word diagnose in their scope of practice.
LPCA was informed on December 23, 2015 that sites were closing down, by late January eighty-one (81) providers / companies were schedule to be audited and any using LPCs would be disqualified. Private practitioners would be the next to be denied insurance reimbursement. The first site audited was instructed to cease all work by LPC, and for 2015 would be disallowed. It was easy to see hundreds of LPCs losing their jobs and incomes. The first site served 600- 800 DFACs and Foster Care children. Not only were LPCs losing jobs/income but hundreds of our children were now at risk.

LPCA’s volunteers and Staff spent hundreds of hours at the capitol with lawmakers, all the while, GPA-psychologist association and NASWGA worked to stop our Senate Bill 319. Although our colleagues in the field were supportive, their professional associations worked around the clock to stop and/or hi-jack our legislation. The LPCA Senate Bill 319 started out as one page with one word – diagnose.
Thanks to the strength of Senator Lester Jackson, who carried/sponsored our SB 319 “Because it was the right thing to do.”, Senator Renee Unterman, Chairperson of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Senator Greg Kirk, Senator Fran Milner, and non-stop efforts of our Lobbyist, Julianna McConnell, the legislation passed.

LPCA spend the two years working with the Licensing Board, the GA Composite Board of PC, SW, MFT, to create reasonably priced DSM-5 Training as required by the new law.  That sentence, requiring a diagnose course was inserted by NAWGA, only originally the sentence stated only Counselors were required to have diagnose education/training.  But lawmakers changed the word “counselors” to all those licensed under the Ga Composite Board. If you do not have a diagnose course listed on your transcript there are still some options to get the training.  Please contact LPCA for additional information. 

This is why it is so important to be a member of LPCA – Advocacy!  While you are working helping clients, LPCA is  the only one working to protect your career. 

Your Voice is NEEDED.  How will you and your clients be affected by THC Medical Oil Access (clients, dispensing, and growers and access)READ House Bill 65  

LPCs, thanks to LPCA you now have PARITY so you can continue to accept insurance and practice. 

APRIL 26, 2018 We brought you the right to "diagnose" and to sign the "10-13" emergency transport form.

Read the new Law:  This effects YOU.    Do you use Assessment tools, or take insurance?  READ THE LAW

"...All persons licensed must have proof of DSM training..."  Licensing Board Rule

===NEW UPDATE on PENDING LEGISLATION===

Read House Bill HB999  About releasing http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20172018/175621.pdf

 =================== DIAGNOSE==========


READ THE NEW LAW, Senate Bill 319 CLICK HERE or use this link:  http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20152016/SB/319

  LICENSING BOARD:  The Georgia Composite Board of PC, SW, MFT:  


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Map of Mental Health Providers by County or Map of Districts with Psychologists

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