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AMHCA Launches Webinar Series on Private-Practice Management Issues

AMHCA kicked off its new, year-long webinar series on Private Practice Management issues with its May 22 webinar on “Compliance and Work-flow: Top Tips to Protect Your Practice and Your License.” Attendees earned 1 CE from the hour-long presentation on the process of assessing risks in their practice, writing a voluntary compliance plan, and selecting the best resources. 

The series presenter is John P. Duggan, NCC, LCPC, LPC, a licensed clinical professional counselor and a National Certified Counselor with a private practice in Silver Spring, Md. Duggan also provides training and support to other therapists in areas of compliance, eCommunication and Telehealth, workflow management, and private practice development.

The moderator of the series is Deb Legge, PhD, CRC, LMHC. In private practice for more than 20 years, Legge is a private practice mentor and the co-founder and clinical director of Influential Therapist, where she helps mental health professionals build successful and sustainable private practices. She also writes “The Business of Private Practice” department for The Advocate. 

Upcoming Webinars:

  • July 24: “Getting on Health Insurance Panels and Networks and Navigating the System”
  • Sept. 24: “Get More Clients: How and Why to Choose a Target Market”
  • November: “Tele-Mental Health Options”
  • Jan 2015: “Including Alternate Streams of Income to Increase the Revenue in Your Private Practice”
  • March 2015: “You’re Promoted! Private Practitioner as Proactive Compliance Officer?”

Each webinar session will run from 12–1 p.m. Eastern (9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Pacific). The cost is $29 for AMHCA members; $39 for nonmembers.

Questions? Contact Whitney Meyerhoeffer at, or 800-326-2642, x108.

AMHCA Featured in Recent Issues of Mental Health Weekly

In the April 28 issue of Mental Health Weekly, which was devoted to workforce issues, three AMHCA leaders—AMHCA’s president, president-elect, and associate executive director and director of Public Policy—were prominently featured in an article titled, “ACA, Medicaid Expansion Promoting Workforce Opportunities”:

  • AMHCA President-Elect Stephen A. Giunta, PhD, LMHC, NCC, commented that as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the need for mental healthcare will likely increase, and that the changes represent an opportunity for clinical mental health counselors. “Charles Darwin is noted for saying,  ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most responsive (adaptable) to change,’” Giunta said. “I think we providers need to educate ourselves now and act now to reposition ourselves for the changes.”
  • AMHCA President Judith Bertenthal–Smith, LPC, ALPS, noted that since AMHCA members are going to be interested in affiliating with the Affordable Care Organizations that are springing up as a result of healthcare reform, AMHCA’s Annual Conference in Seattle in July is providing a certificate to those who attend 10 hours of programming devoted specifically to healthcare reform.
     That certificate “will offer additional credibility to our members when they seek to affiliate with an ACO,” she said. Bertenthal–Smith also made the case for CHMCs be eligible to be covered Medicare providers.
  • In a Mental Health Weekly article in the same issue titled, “Mental Health Counselors Continue Push for Medicare Provider Eligibility,” AMHCA Associate Executive Director and Director of Public Policy James Finley talked about the ongoing struggle to gain Medicare coverage for CMHCs and licensed marriage and family therapists, who Finley notes represent over 40 percent of today’s licensed mental health practitioners.?“We are not relenting on this issue,” he said in the conclusion to the April 28 article. “This is our biggest grassroots challenge for our members. AMHCA is going to invest more energy in building a better-informed and more vigorous grassroots effort to support this legislation going forward.”

In addition, AMHCA Executive Director Joel E. Miller was quoted in the May 19 issue of Mental Health Weekly. The article, “Prevention, Public Health Approaches Key in Health Reform Era,” discussed a report co-written by Miller for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD). 

“For the mental health field it will be critically important to think about how we can make quality improvements in behavioral health through public health interventions and educating stakeholders about the social determinates on health on mental health and mental illness,” said Miller as quoted by Mental Health Weekly.

(See the May Noteworthy article for more on the NASMHPD series of issue briefs at Download the reports at no charge from NASMHPD.)

USA Today Runs Special Report on Mental Health

“The Financial and Human Toll for Neglecting the Mentally Ill”

In a series of stories in the coming months, USA TODAY will explore the human and 
financial costs that the country pays for not caring more about the 10 million Americans with serious mental illness. The following excerpts are from the May 12, 2014, article by Liz Szabo, USA Today.

“Patients and their advocates say the country’s mental health system has been drowning for a long time, not from floodwaters but from neglect.

“Suicide claims the lives of 38,000 Americans a year—more than car accidents, prostate cancer, or homicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“About 90% of suicides are related to mental illness, says Thomas 

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Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

“People with mental illness die early for a variety of reasons, Insel says. Some are victimized by violence. Others are too sick to take care of their health. 

“On average, people with serious mental illness die up to 23 years sooner than other Americans, giving them a life expectancy on par with people in Bangladesh, Insel says.”

“A Georgia study found that providing comprehensive mental health services to mentally ill people involved in the criminal justice system cut the number of days that participants spent in the hospital by 89%, and the number of days spent in jail by 78%. In all, the program saved more than $1 million in its first year.

“A jail diversion program in Massachusetts serving 200 mentally ill people—at an initial cost of $400,000—saved $1.3 million in emergency health services and jail costs, according to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.”

“In some rural areas, there are no services at any price.

“More than half the counties in the country have no practicing psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.”