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AMHCA Touts Benefits of Medicare Coverage to Leaders of Senate Finance Committee

In an effort to draw increased attention from the Senate Finance Committee to legislation (S.562) that would provide licensed clinical mental health counselors with Medicare coverage, AMHCA sent a letter on Sept. 30 to the leaders of the Senate committee.

Signed by AMHCA Executive Director & CEO Joel E. Miller, the letter expresses concern about older adults’ need for behavioral healthcare and the inability of the current healthcare system to meet that need. “Fewer than 40% of older adults with mental and/or substance use disorders get treatment,” Miller writes. “Of those who receive treatment, most go initially to primary care physicians, who often cannot provide even minimally adequate care.”

The letter goes on make the important point that, 

“The single greatest statutory barrier that prevents Medicare beneficiaries from obtaining mental health and behavioral healthcare is the exclusion of Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) and Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) from participating in the program. … It is long past time for Medicare beneficiaries to gain access to these providers to ensure they have access to necessary mental health services.”
Further, the letter notes that, “Clinical mental health counselors have “equivalent or greater training, education, and practice rights as currently eligible provider groups that can bill for mental health services through Medicare.”

The letter went to Sen. Max Maucus (D–Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R–Utah), ranking member of the committee.  

For more information about AMHCA’s efforts to secure Medicare coverage for clinical mental health counselors, see AMHCA’s public policy page.

CACREP Releases Draft #2 of 2016 Standards; Comments Are Invited

The public comment period on Draft #2 of CACREP’s 2016 Standards opened Sept. 5, 2013, and runs through Jan. 10, 2014. AMHCA has already given feedback on the first draft, and invites feedback on the Draft #2 of CACREP Standards through the Mental Health Interest Network. 

The Network has concerns that “the clinical” is being taken out of clinical mental health counseling, and that the generalizing of counselor standards across multiple disciplines will be detrimental to progress made in areas such as the ability to assess and treat.

To submit feedback on the CACREP Standards through the Mental Health Interest Network, send your contact information or any questions you have to Sandy Lopez–Baez, PhD, NCC, ACS, CCMHC, LPC at:

Download information on CACREP's draft Standards:

AMHCA’s Leadership Directory Is Online

For a listing of the mental health counselors and committees that do the volunteer work at AMHCA in support of the profession of mental health counseling, check out the 2013-2014 Leadership Directory.

You’ll find contact information for

  • The 11-member board of directors;
  • The approximately 40 AMHCA members who serve on AMHCA’s eight standing committees and two ad-hoc committees; and
  • The board of the AMHCA Foundation.

Plus you’ll find the association’s liaisons to AASCB (the American Association of State Counseling Boards) and FACT (National Fair Access Coalition on Testing), as well as the editors of the Journal of Mental Health Counseling and The Advocate.

The directory also includes the leaders of AMHCA’s numerous state chapters, many of which have websites. See page 3 of the Directory for the list of AMHCA state chapters, leaders, and websites.

Webinar on Handling Hidden Ethical Dilemmas Begins Nov. 12

Should you accept a client’s friend request? What are the pitfalls of using Google, email, and social media in your practice? AMHCA, in partnership with Psychotherapy Networker, offers this six-part streaming video webcast series to answer typical ethical questions for practicing mental health counselors:

  • In 21st-Century Ethical Dilemmas, Mary Jo Barrett, shares practical guidance on establishing boundaries from the first session.
  • In Ethics in the Digital Age, Ofer Zur, PhD, explores the new ethical issues of digital communications technology.
  • In The Therapist’s Duty to Warn, Clifton Mitchell, PhD, examines your legal and ethical responsibilities as a therapist.
  • In The Ethics of Termination, William Doherty, PhD, discusses how to broach termination when a client is no longer benefiting from therapy.
  • In Law, Ethics, and Risk Management, Steven Frankel, PhD, JD, answers frequently asked questions about the ethical and legal risks of practice.
  • In Telemental Health in the 21st Century, Marlene Maheu, PhD, explores the ethical issues of using Skype, e-mail, and other distance therapy tools.

Learn on your own schedule: All sessions are available on-demand, at any time. 

For more information: The six-part series is $139; for an additional $40, take the quiz and earn 6 CEs.

Register now!  

Next Deadline to Apply for Diplomate Credential Will Be in Early 2014

The deadline for the next cycle of AMHCA’s Diplomate and Clinical Mental Health Specialist (DCMHS) credential will be early in the new year; the exact date will be determined by the end of December. The DCMHS recognizes both advanced practice and professional clinical expertise in clinical mental health counseling.

AMHCA is currently accepting online applications from AMHCA members who wish to qualify for the DCMHS.