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AARP Strongly Supports Medicare Recognition for Clinical Mental Health Counselors; Diplomate Program Offers Geriatric Specialist Credential

By Joseph Weeks posted 04-02-2018 14:31


Over the last several months, AMHCA staff have been working closely with AARP governmental relations staff representatives to secure their support -- working with the Medicare Access Coalition -- for our Medicare provider recognition bills for mental health counselors namely, S. 1879 and H.R. 3032.

We are pleased to report that AARP has sent  letters to all Members of Congress in support of our Medicare provider recognition bills.  (official letters of endorsement)

We are grateful to obtain their support and we hope this will draw more Members of Congress (MoCs) to our Medicare bills, which will hopefully translate into more co-sponsorships for the bills -- among other support that AARP can bring to the process. We believe that several Republicans and Democrats will come on board to sponsor our bills simply due to their long time support for AARP legislative measures and initiatives.  We believe we are making significant progress in our advocacy efforts to push Congress this year to pass Medicare provider recognition for the profession.

We need your assistance in contacting your elected officials to advocate for the passage of S. 1879 and H.R. 3032 to make a Medicare reimbursement a reality.  For more information, please go to

The AARP support and interest in mental health and older adult issues highlights the importance of AMHCA Diplomate Program, specifically, the Geriatric Specialty area which is a critical component of our efforts to prepare clinical mental health counselors in the dynamic health care system.

The AMHCA Diplomate Specialist in Geriatric Counseling establishes a clinical mental health counselor standard that demonstrates qualifying expertise with this population. Treatment must be based on evidenced based approaches that offer symptom alleviation. This standard enhances the dedicated, high quality of services for people of advanced age, and enriches the profession and status of the mental health counselor as we work with other specialists, state agencies, and third party payers. Candidates for this AMHCA Diplomate are required to be knowledgeable with the distinctive ethics and standards of practice in the treatment of geriatric clients. Counselors must be committed to comply with the legal, ethical, and practice standards related to this work. 

The AMHCA Diplomate Program Credential was developed in 2011 by the AMHCA Board of Directors, who continue to oversee the selection process. We believe this credential will enhance the stature of individual clinical mental health counselors and in turn, will increase the prominence of our profession.  For more information about how to apply for the AMHCA Diplomate Program specialty area, please go to

In addition, to address your needs in the geriatric field, AMHCA has recently prepared new “Aging and Older Adults Standards and Competencies” to help you become for familiar with the necessary knowledge and skills to treat older adults with mental health conditions.

We are pleased to offer these services and programs to you so you are prepared for what is being called the coming “silver tsunami” of elderly Americans with mental health conditions.

Thank you for your support.