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District of Columbia  Mental Health Counselors Association
Legislative Update Energizes Attendees at DCMHCA Chapter’s Mini-Conference

Attendees at DCMHCA’s April 27 mini-conference on “DC LPCs in the Age of the Affordable Care Act: Policies and Practices” gathered at a Washington, D.C., restaurant to hear three presentations and earn three CEs. After the conference, attendees told Camille A. Clay, EdD, LPC, that they liked the venue, the lunch, the opportunity to network, the opportunity to earn CEs, and all three presentations, which were on: 

  • “An Update on Recent Federal Legislation, (Tricare, Medicare),” Jim Finley, associate executive director of AMHCA and director of public policy,
  • “Becoming Co-Occurent Competent,” Angele Moss–Baker, LPC, and
  • “Mindfulness,” Jonathan Kirkendall, LPC.

On their feedback forms, several participants noted that they especially appreciated the overview of the state of legislative affairs and in particular, policies that affect LPCs, said Clay, who is AMHCA’s North Atlantic Region director as well as a past officer of the DC chapter.

Finley, shown left, during his presentation to DCMHCA, has spoken to a number of chapters this year on federal issues for clinical mental health counselors. He welcomes invitations to speak at AMHCA chapter conferences, present at chapter training events, or conduct webinars for interested large groups. 

His presentation covers what a lobbyist does, the importance of AMHCA’s coalitions with other mental health organizations, and political challenges for AMHCA to overcome to achieve its legislative objectives, including:

  • Medicare coverage,
  • Licensure uniformity,
  • Grandfather to CACREP standards, and the many ways AMHCA members can be involved to help advance their profession.

Finley’s talk also covers the impact of “Obamacare” on the profession of mental health counseling—including those in private practice—and why AMHCA members should care about Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

He notes that, “If CMHCs are not included in Medicare soon, members of the profession will confront growing disadvantages in the marketplace.” Finley will also cover these issues during a two-hour presentation at AMHCA’s Annual Conference on Friday, July 19, on “CMHC Tipping Point? The Future of Clinical Mental Health Counselors” along with AMHCA Past President Gray Otis, PhD, LCMHC, and AMHCA President Karen Langer, LMHC.