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News & Press: Advocacy

Advocacy Update 9/2019

Tuesday, September 10, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katrice Rankin Ward, Advocacy Chair

LPCANC, chartered in December 1995 as a professional association, was born from the collective frustration of several LPCs. These LPCs joined together in coalition to multiply their advocacy efforts to obtain direct reimbursement for LPCs from the NC State Employees Health Plan. LPCANC became the #1 professional association in North Carolina focused on a clear mission for LPCs/clinical mental health counselors: ADVOCATE for the LPC profession. Since 1995, LPCANC has amassed a successful advocacy track record; accomplished by dedicated and tenacious volunteers who believe in the LPCANC purpose and mission.

LPCANC cares deeply about the issues which impact the mental wellness of North Carolinas citizens, and the profession of clinical mental health counseling. We know it is important for you to be heard and to have someone monitoring legislation and public policy.  From graduate students to new professionals, and from private to public agency settings, our key priority is to advocate and educate. We are focused advocacy and education on our profession and our ability to practice and provide treatment to those in need.

The LPCANC Advocacy committees #1 goal is two-fold goal: (1) to provide you opportunities as a LPCANC member to voice your professional concerns, and (2) for your professional association to inform and update you regarding legislative actions, public policy initiatives, and other regulatory affairs going on in North Carolina. The LPCANC Advocacy Committee invites you to join the LPCANC Advocacy process - as a advocacy participant and/or even as a committee member. 

As the NC General Assembly continues its 2019 Long Session into this month of September, we would like to share a number of advocacy updates with you, our #1 reason for being: our membership.  With a continued legislative session and upcoming move to Medicaid Transformation in early 2020, we hope you will join us at the upcoming 2019 LPCANC Annual Conference at the  Charlotte/Concord Embassy Suites to learn more about these topics, dedicate time to advocacy for your profession and take part in very important conversations.  

Katrice Rankin Ward, LPCANC Advocacy Chair 

Ashley Perkinson, LPCANC Advocate & Lobbyist


Update on Involuntary Commitment (IVC) Law                                                  *Effective October 1, 2019


1.     What is a commitment examiner?

A physician, an eligible psychologist, or any health professional or mental health professional who is certified under NCGS 122C-263.1 to perform the 1st examination for involuntary commitment described in NCGS 122C-263(c) or NCGS 122C-283(c).  The following health professionals are eligible to become commitment examiners effective October 1, 2019:

       Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

       Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

       Master’s level Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS)

       Physician’s Assistant (PA)

       Master’s or higher-level degree Nurse Practitioner (NP)

2.     IVC Training and Information

Powerpoint: Revision of North Carolina Laws Pertaining to Involuntary Commitment (IVC) Session Law 2018-33 Senate Bill 630 Carrie L. Brown, MD, MPH Chief Medical Officer for Behavioral Health & IDD NC Department of Health and Human Services (View on-line:

3.     FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about IVC First Examiners               

NC DHHS Medicaid Transformation


  NC DHHS announced Sept. 3, 2019 that Medicaid Transformation will be delayed.  

  The targeted Go Livedate of November 1, 2019 will be postponed to Feb. 1, 2020.  

  Click here for the official press release from DHHS:  NC DHHS Delays Medicad Transformation to Feb. 2020


Provider News

  Questions? Dont know where to start? Licensed providers can find a wealth of information here:

  Provider Playbook for Medicaid Care Transformation:


Upcoming Provider Training

  MCT 115: NC’s Transition to Managed Care: The Crossover Series Continued

Thurs, Sept. 19, 2019 from 1-2 p.m.    Register   

  Archived Provider Training

Senate Bill 361 – Healthy NC

Senate Bill 361 has grown to include a number of health-related issues. In the House Health Committee, provisions were added that expand telehealth coverage for behavioral health provides, including LPCs. 

Status: The bill has passed both the House and Senate in different versions, and a conference committee has been appointed to work out the differences.

The House version of SB 361 would:

1.     Make changes to Medicaid and NC Health Choice Clinical Coverage Policy No. 1H, Telemedicine and Telepsychiatry:

          All behavioral health providers who are directly enrolled as providers in the Medicaid and NC Health Choice programs, including licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, certified clinical supervisors, and licensed clinical addictions specialists, would be included in the coverage policy as providers who may bill Medicaid or NC Health Choice for telemedicine and telepsychiatry services and as providers who may bill for a facility fee.

          DHHS would reimburse for telemedicine and telepsychiatry services performed in a recipient's home or delivered from a licensed practitioner's home.

          A referral would not be required for the use of telemedicine or telepsychiatry services above and beyond what is required for face-to-face services.

          The delivery of telemedicine or telepsychiatry over the phone or by video cell phone would be covered.

          A referring provider who is eligible to bill for facility fees and a receiving provider who is eligible to bill for facility fees would be allowed to bill for facility fees related to the provision of telemedicine or telepsychiatry on the same date of service.

          Telemedicine and telepsychiatry services would not be subject to the exact same restrictions as face-to-face contacts in office-based settings. The clinical coverage policy would be updated to reflect best practices for telemental health and to maintain the expectation for the same standard of care.

2.     Increase access to telehealth services through Medicaid and NC Health Choice:

          The term "telehealth" would be used instead of "telemedicine" in all clinical coverage policies. For the purposes of Medicaid and NC Health Choice coverage, telehealth would be defined as the delivery of health care-related services through real-time interactive audio and video technology, store and forward services that are provided by asynchronous technologies as the standard practice of care where medical information is sent to a provider for evaluation, or an asynchronous communication in which the provider has access to the recipient's medical history prior to the telehealth encounter.

          DHHS would be required to promote access to health care for Medicaid and NC Health Choice recipients through telehealth services.

          DHHS would require all Medicaid providers providing telehealth services to be licensed in North Carolina to provide the service rendered through telehealth.

          DHHS would require health care facilities that receive reimbursement for telehealth consultations and have a Medicaid provider who practices in that facility establish quality-of-care protocols and patient confidentiality guidelines to ensure all requirements and patient care standards are met as required by law.

          DHHS could not require: a provider to be physically present with a patient, the use of telehealth if an in-person provider is reasonably close by, additional approval for telehealth services, or a provider to be a part of a telehealth network or particular agency to provide telehealth services. Telehealth services could not be denied based solely on the technology used.

          Medicaid and NC Health Choice coverage and reimbursement for telehealth services would be equivalent to the reimbursement and coverage for the same services if provided in person and any deductible, copayment, or coinsurance requirement is equivalent to the same service if it was provided to the patient in person.

3.     Ensure telehealth services are also covered through private benefit plans:

          A health benefit plan would be prohibited from excluding a covered health care service or procedure solely because it is delivered through as a telehealth.

          A health benefit plan could require a deductible, a copayment, or coinsurance for a telehealth service but the amount could not exceed that charged for an in-person consultation.

4.     Apply the same telehealth coverage required of private benefit plans to the State Health Plan.


2019 NC Legislature and the 2020 State Budget

As the state budget stalemate stretched past day 50, leadership in the General Assembly shifted gears on strategy. A number of “mini budgets,” legislation dealing with employee pay raises, Medicaid funding and other critical issues are moving through committees. These pieces of legislation are almost entirely pieces of the budget bill pulled out and pasted into existing legislation.

A quick rundown of these bills is included below. Teacher pay raises have not yet surfaced. The school employee pay raise bill (House Bill 426) has also stalled. After a week-long break for Labor Day, more “mini budget” bills are expected on prison safety, school safety, additional funding for disaster recovery and funding to test rape kits.

Another important piece of legislation that is on the move is House Bill 74, the Taxpayer Refund Act. This is the Republican leadership’s plan to return the budget surplus to taxpayers in the form of $250 rebates for those married and filing jointly and $125 for all other taxpayers. Under the bill, the first checks would be mailed December 15th. The bill has passed the Senate but was sent to finance committee in the House.

House Bill 555 – Medicaid Funding

Status: Passed both House and Senate; sent to Governor on 8/29 and awaiting signature. The bill, which previously dealt with telehealth, now includes portions of the Health and Human Services section of the budget needed to progress North Carolina’s changes to Medicaid managed care.

HB 555 would:

       fund appropriations for the Medicaid Transformation initiative that has been delayed while the state budget is in limbo;

       revise current hospital assessments to conform to managed care;

       revise the supplemental payment program for eligible medical professional providers to conform with managed care.

House Bill 426 – School Employee Pay Raises

Status: Passed 2nd reading in House on 8/27; referred to House Appropriations Committee

HB 426 would:

       provides a 1% pay increase for non-certified school employees for one year and states the legislative intent to approve another 1% pay raise the next year.;

       allows community colleges and universities to provide salary increases and issues those employees five days of bonus leave;

       sets employer contribution levels for the state retirement system and provides retiree cost-of-living increases of 0.5% for the next two fiscal years.


House Bill 126 – State Highway Patrol Raises

Status: Passed both House and Senate; sent to Governor for signature on 8/28; Governor signed on 8/30/2019.

HB 126 will:

       provide 2.5% pay increases for members of the State Highway Patrol effective July 1, 2019;

       awards five days of bonus leave and sets the entry entry-level annual salary of State Highway Patrol members at $45,100 for 2019-20 and $46,228 for 2020-21.

House Bill 777 – SBI and ALE Raises

Status: Passed both House and Senate; sent to Governor for signature on 8/28; Governor signed on 8/30/2019.

HB 777 will:

       provide 2.5% pay increases for law enforcement officers at the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) or Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE).

       appropriates $2 million to establish a pay schedule for law enforcement officers in the SBI and ALE that increases the beginning officer salary to $45,100 and sets a stepped progression from beginning officer pay to $65,807 over a six-year period by providing increases of 6.5% per year. Those officers on the new stepped scale are exempted from the 2.5% raises.

House Bill 609 – Correctional Employee Raises

Status: Passed both House and Senate; sent to Governor for signature on 8/28; Governor signed on 8/30/2019.

HB 609 will:

       provides 2.5% pay increases for employees at State Adult correctional facilities and grants five days of bonus leave;

       establishes a pay differential based on custody variations and annual supplements for those working in facilities with the highest vacancy rates. House Bill 226 – State Employee Raises

House Bill 226 – State Employee Raises

Status: Passed both House and Senate; sent to Governor for signature on 8/28; Governor signed on 8/30/2019.

HB 226 would:

       provides 2.5% raises for most state employees for both fiscal year 2019 and 2020;

       increases average, maximum and minimum salaries for some positions, including state court employees. State employees are also granted 5 days of bonus annual leave;

       sets employer contribution rates for the retirement systems.


Thank you for being a valued member of LPCANC!

We want to hear from you!

The LPCANC Advocacy Committee


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