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California Mental Health Counselors Association (CAMHCA) 

California LPCC Grandparenting Application Now Available

On Aug. 1, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation to extend the “grandparenting” period for licensed professional clinical counselors until Dec. 31. Grandparenting applications from licensed professional clinical counselors must be postmarked by Dec. 31. 

The California LPCC license application for grandparenting is now available online. The Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) has posted information for LPCCs about the available paths to licensure in California. There is a special section with information specifically about the grandparenting path.

“The grandparenting phase for the LPCC of CA license is important to clinical mental health counselors because it provides a narrow window when obtaining licensure is just a bit easier and more forgiving of supervision requirements,”noted  Linda Lawless, LMHC, LMFT, in her June Advocate article. Lawless is president of the California Mental Health Counselor Association. “According to the BBS, a person licensed as a professional counselor outside of California could potentially qualify using the grandparenting path or the traditional path. However, different paths have different requirements.” 

The California Mental Health Counselors Association (CAMHCA) will be providing help and support in filling out the application and explaining the application process. To receive the regular online newsletter with updates and assistance, sign-up here.

For more background on the grandfathering issue, read Lawless’ article in the June Advocate.

Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA)

FMHCA 2011 Legislative Wrap-up & Review 

By Corinne Mixon, 
Mixon and Associates

Following is a recap of several legislative items Mixon and Associates followed for FMHCA throughout the 2011 Legislative Session.

  • Autism Bills

For the third year in a row, the bill filed by Sen. Jeremy Ring (D–Margate) that would have required a physician to refer a minor to an appropriate specialist for screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder died. Prior to the FMHCA amendment, licensed mental health counselors were not listed in the table of “appropriate specialists” alongside psychiatrists, psychologists and neurologists. We were successful in working with Sen. Ring to amend LMHCs into the list of appropriate specialists. However, the bill later died due to its fiscal impact.

Another bill that died in the final days of the Legislative Session was one that sought to create the Autism Spectrum Disorder Study Committee. The Committee was to have addressed the needs of families of people with autism, in particular families where English is the second language.

  • Gun Privacy

The bill that sought to make it illegal for healthcare providers to ask about gun ownership passed, but without the teeth it once had. The final version of the bill requires that practitioners “refrain” from asking about guns in an ongoing, irrelevant manner, but the measure no longer has a complete ban. LMHCs and other mental health providers are still permitted to talk about guns as long as the discussion is relevant to the care of the individual.
Mental Health Budget

The mental health and substance-abuse treatment programs survived the threat of losing all of their funding. In the late days of Session, the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate were forced to negotiate. 

The House was unwilling to give up its position to fund the programs completely. The Senate eventually conceded.

  • Hypnosis and Scope-of-Practice Threat

Early on in the Session, a bill was filed that appeared to take away the ability of LMHCs to practice hypnosis or to train others in hypnosis. It also appeared to limit the legality of the practice to psychologists only. The bill was withdrawn soon after it was introduced when several groups, including FMHCA, raised concerns. Because a staff analysis was never done on the bill, the full extent of its impact is not known.

It is possible that the bill will be filed in the coming Session. FMHCA will be meeting with last year’s sponsor, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R–Miami), to try to see that bill is not filed, or to come up with a compromise that would not limit the scope of practice for licensed mental health counselors.

This article was excerpted from the Florida chapter website.