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Advocacy

 

LPCANC Advocacy Day

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 7:30 AM

Register online https://www.lpcanc.org/event/AdvocacyDay

 

Advocacy Committee

Chair:

Katrice Rankin Ward, LPC

advocacy@lpcanc.org

The Licensed Professional Counselors Association of North Carolina (LPCANC) is currently seeking a dedicated individual to serve as chair for the Advocacy Committee. If you know individuals who might be interested in this position (including yourself), let us know!

Mission:

To address advocacy and policy issues relating to and affecting the Licensed Professional Counselor community and advise the Board on potential actions.

Responsibilities of Advocacy Committee:

  • Monitor and provide comment on policy issues of interest to the Licensed Professional Counselor community.
  • Develop LPCANC recommendations for Licensed Professional Counselor policies and practices for Institutions and advocate for their implementation.
  • Maintain and expand relationships with state agencies and national organizations within the Licensed Professional Counselor community
  • Collaborate with other LPCANC committees, officers, staff, and Board members on projects to advance/promote/facilitate the mission of the LPCANC.

 

Advocacy Priorities

LPCANC’s Advocacy Priorities for 2019

1.  LPCANC supports a delay of the requirement that all healthcare providers who receive state funds must connect to NC HealthConnex by June 2019 in order to receive payments for services provided.  The NC Health Information Exchange Connectivity Feasibility Study released on July 25, 2018 by the NC Department of Information Technology, the NC Department of Health and Human Service, and the State Health Plan, recommends that the HIE requirement for behavioral health providers be delayed until at least 2020. According to the Study, 35% of providers do not have the technology to meet the pending mandate to connect. LPCANC is concerned that many licensed behavioral health professionals, including licensed professional counselors, will decide to no longer provide services to Medicaid, Health Choice and State Health Plan patients causing hardship to those covered by these plans. 

HB 70 was filed in the NC House of Representatives on February 13th and information about the bill can be found in the following link: 
https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2019/H70

2.  LPCANC supports efforts to expand opportunities for LPCs in the area of telehealth.

3. LPCANC opposes efforts to consolidate behavioral health licensing boards. The behavioral healthcare professions are each distinct and separate in training, curriculum and standards, ethics codes, accrediting bodies, scope of practice, and treatment modalities. 

4. LPCANC supports improvements to Medicaid managed care. As the North Carolina General Assembly looks at the framework of Medicaid transformation, LPCANC supports efforts to cut down unnecessary paperwork and administrative expenses for LPCs who provide Medicaid services. LPCANC also supports adequate Medicaid reimbursement rates for quality behavioral health services. 

LPCANC is pleased to report that HB 70, a bill entitled “An Act Extending the Deadline by Which Certain Providers are Required to Connect to and Participate in North Carolina’s Health Information Exchange Network Known as NC HealthConnex,” was introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly on February 13 and received a favorable report by the House Health Committee on March 12.  The bill would extend the deadline that LPCs must connect to the HIE to June 1, 2020, and allow for application for extension of time until 2021.  The bill would also allow providers to apply for a hardship exemption including a provider’s impending retirement or closure; lack of access to affordable broadband capacity adequate to support implementation of electronic health record technology and connection to the HIE Network; lack of financial flexibility to acquire and implement health information technology solutions needed to connect to the HIE Network; and whether exclusion of the provider from Medicaid would result in a lack of access to care under the Department’s network adequacy standards.  If the bill passes, the process for granting a hardship exception will include a written request by the provider to the Department setting forth the specific bases for, and nature of, the asserted hardship.

 The primary House sponsors of HB 70 are Rep. Josh Dobson, Rep. Donna White, Rep. Greg Murphy, and Rep. Donny Lambeth.  Please take the opportunity to reach out to your NC House and NC Senate members and ask that they support HB 70.  HB 70 will next be heard by the House Rules Committee and then by the full House chamber before moving to the Senate for consideration.  Please also take the time to thank the bill’s primary sponsors and co-sponsors.  You can find contact information for your NC House and NC Senate members by inserting your address into the address field via the following link.

 

House Bill 70 Delay NC HealthConnex for Certain Providers Passes House

On March 27, the North Carolina House of Representatives voted 110 to 0 in support of HB 70, Delay NC HealthConnex for Certain Providers. The bill would extend the deadline that LPCs must connect to the HIE to June 1, 2020, and allow for application for extension of time until 2021.  The bill would also allow providers to apply for a hardship exemption including a provider’s impending retirement or closure; lack of access to affordable broadband capacity adequate to support implementation of electronic health record technology and connection to the HIE Network; lack of financial flexibility to acquire and implement health information technology solutions needed to connect to the HIE Network; and when exclusion of the provider from Medicaid would result in a lack of access to care under the Department’s network adequacy standards.  If the bill passes, the process for granting a hardship exception will include a written request by the provider to the Department setting forth the specific bases for, and nature of, the asserted hardship.  

The primary House sponsors of HB 70 are Rep. Josh Dobson, Rep. Donna White, Rep. Greg Murphy, and Rep. Donny Lambeth.  The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. Please take the time to thank the bill’s primary sponsors and co-sponsors and also reach out to your state Senator to ask that he or she support HB 70.  You can find contact information for your NC Senate member by inserting your address into the address field via the following link. 

 

Update on Senate Bill 300 Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors

Senate Bill 300, a bill that would change the name of the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors to the North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors, was introduced on March  20.  The primary sponsors of SB 300 are Sen. Paul Lowe (Forsyth County), Sen. Dan Bishop (Mecklenburg), and Sen. Joyce Krawiec (Forsyth County).  In addition to changing the name of “licensed professional counselor” to “licensed clinical mental health counselor”, the bill would also allow the Board to establish a program for licensees who may be experiencing substance use disorders, burnout, compassion fatigue, and other mental health concerns and allow the Board to refer any licensee to the program as part of the disciplinary process.  Finally, SB 300 allows the Board to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states that have requirements for licensure that are substantially similar to North Carolina.  SB 300 can be viewed here.

 

The Department of Health and Human Services Releases Final Policy Guidance for the Proposed Tailored Plans

The Department of Health and Human Services released it final policy guidance on the proposed tailored plans on March 18.  The policy paper is available here.

 

Lobbyist

Ashley Matlock Perkinson

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