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Advocacy Alerts 2017
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Call to Action for Medicare Provider Recognition of Mental Health Counselors

Advocate for HR 3032 by contacting your member in the House of Representatives now and attend AMHCA's 2017 Hill Day

Make your voice heard. Support our bill: HR 3032 which will allow Mental Health Counselors to bill Medicare beneficiaries for treatments provided to seniors. AMHCA offers a suggested template for letters to your Representative.

Find our suggested template with instructions on how to message your legislators. Send your message on POPVOX.

Attend Hill Day 2017 and advocate for your profession in person!

Register for AMHCA’s Annual Conference and make the case face-to-face to your members of congress why this is so important. This is a major opportunity to join your professional colleagues on July 27th to meet with your elected officials and strongly advocate for Medicare reimbursement. We will arrange the meetings with your elected officials and prepare all the materials you need to make the case. Don’t let this opportunity slip away. 


CALLING ALL MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS TO WASHINGTON D.C. ON JULY 27TH, 2017

Our profession and our future are in jeopardy.  Everyday, we fall further behind in the mental health provider marketplace and policymaking community from the inability to bill Medicare for diagnosing and treating mental health disorders of elderly beneficiaries.  With millions more becoming Medicare eligible every year due to the baby-boom "silver tsunami” over the next decade, the time to act is NOW.  

Psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers have been receiving reimbursement through the Medicare program for over 50 years. They understand how the reimbursement system works. They also understand the expectations of third party payers that serve as intermediaries to Medicare, as well as the state Medicaid programs. 

We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines.  We need to advocate for ourselves and come to Washington to be sure that our voices are heard and considered. It’s a critical moment for securing Medicare Provider Recognition for Clinical Mental Health Counselors and your involvement is crucial. 

Unless we change this situation immediately, our standing in relation to the Medicare program is going to get worse and accelerate. 
 
Not only will mental health counselors be unable to participate in Medicare’s fee-for-service (FFS) process, but Medicare is beginning to move much of its reimbursement platforms to more team-based, integrated, capitated, risk-bearing contractual and procedural relationships. Other mental health workforce providers will have a leg up on how to be a successful player, and parlay their knowledge and skills into participating in ever-growing Medicare payment programs that focus on "value-based care” such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).
 
Making matters worse, all of the experience that Medicare and participants such as psychologists are currently gaining by being on the "reimbursement inside,” is going to spill over into the private sector where health care purchasers are mimicking Medicare programs and expanding their own "value-based” programs like ACOs and health homes.  So who do you think employers and health plans will work with to populate their plan networks? Psychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical social workers.  
 
You get the point.  Mental health care delivery is rapidly changing and it is imperative that we adapt.  And it is occurring throughout the system vertically, horizontally and every which way.
 
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  HOW?
 
AMHCA’s Annual Conference and Leadership Training Forum in late July are dedicated to promoting the profession before Congress and highlighting the need to pass legislation that will allow mental health counselors to receive reimbursement when you diagnose and treat elderly Americans under the Medicare program.
 
DON'T SIT ON YOUR HANDS ANY LONGER.
 
We have to make the case – face-to-face – to Members of Congress and their staff on why this is so important.  We have prepared talking points and materials for you to make a compelling case to your Representative in the House and Senators on Capitol Hill that millions of elderly Americans in need of mental health care and services will go untreated since there are simply not enough eligible mental health providers to address the needs of their constituents.  
 
But mental health counselors are armed and ready to address a growing problem. 
 
You are armed and ready, as you have been uniquely trained and are qualified to provide mental health assessment, prevention, diagnosis and treatment to address their constituents' mental health conditions.  
 
As a primary mental health provider, you are prepared to offer high-quality, comprehensive, integrative, cost-effective services to Medicare beneficiaries.

You are ready to address the growing suicide rate among Medicare beneficiaries and the devastating impact on families.  You are prepared to address the growing access problem in under-served areas, such as rural communities and frontier areas.

This is a once-in-lifetime opportunity to join your professional colleagues on July 27th to meet with your elected officials and strongly advocate for Medicare reimbursement for yourself and the mental health counseling profession.  It will not happen unless you make it happen. Attend the AMHCA-sponsored conference and leadership events in July and meet your members of Congress in person.
 
We will arrange the meetings with your elected officials and prepare all the materials you need to make the case.  But you need to register for the conference events now. 
 
We need to know if you are able and ready to talk with your Representative and Senators.

It is imperative and urgent that you take up this call-to-action. You need to make this critically important step for your future.
 
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Don’t let this opportunity slip away. We need your voice in this fight.
 
Best Regards,
 
Joseph Weeks 
AMHCA President-Elect


When we work together, we have power!

We are excited to announce that House Bill 425 Improve Utilization of MH Professionals has been filed! If passed, this bill would add LPCs as providers eligible to conduct first evaluations for involuntary commitment in North Carolina.

Please take a moment to thank our outstanding bill sponsors:

 

Representatives Belk, Blackwell, Brisson, Floyd, Holley, Malone, Terry, Willingham, and Wray have also signed on as co-sponsors.

HB 425 has been referred to the House Health Committee. If your legislator serves on the Health Committee, please also take a moment to reach out to your House member and ask that he or she support HB 425. Here is a list of the House Health Committee members:

http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails=House%20Standing_26

What are the next steps?

We want to identify LPCs who have expertise in the area of first evaluations for involuntary commitment so that we can call on you when the bill gets heard in committee. We may need you to testify on some of the more detailed, clinical aspects.Please email yourpresident@lpcanc.org to be a part of this great stride within our profession.We can't wait to hear from you!

 

With warm regards,

Letitia Huger-Hill, LPC, DCC

LPCANC President 2016-2019

 

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