By Susan Roistacher LCPC
ADVOCATING FOR YOU:
1. In the Maryland General Assembly:
LCPCM’s lobbyists and Legislative Chair cull through all proposed legislation each year to identify bills that impact our practice and our clients. In 2018, we reviewed almost 80 bills and testified on 15, including bills affecting Medicaid and teletherapy regulations. Most significant this year was our participation in the 10-year Sunset Review of the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists. The legislative Sunset Review of the Board resulted in 2 years of legislative oversight and 33 mandates for improvements.
2. With the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists (BOPCT):
LCPCM makes a concerted effort to stay abreast of Board actions and decisions by attending monthly meetings and addressing the Board on specific topics. We provide information and assistance whenever possible. LCPCM shares your requests, complaints, and suggestions for change. This year, we discovered that it is more effective for LCPCM members to contact the Board directly by email, in addition to contacting LCPCM. We encourage you to share your concerns with the Executive Director, Kimberly Link, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to also copy me, Susan Roistacher, Legislative Chair at: email@example.com. I want to know your concerns, so we can offer support when needed and can advocate more effectively. The following is a list of some LCPCM 2017-2018 advocacy projects related to the BOPCT:
- Clinical Regulations: LCPCM recently provided the Board with a detailed proposal for creating a separate LCPC chapter in COMAR (DHMD Chapter 58). The Board is reviewing our proposal and is amendable to working with us. LCPCM studied the LCPC regulations over several years to identify ambiguities, inconsistencies, and specific regulations we believe to be unnecessary impediments to licensure. Several amendments were proposed to the Board in writing. The clinical regulations committee consists of myself, Elaine Johnson PhD, and Katy Schaffer PhD from the University of Baltimore, and Rachael Faulkner. Rachael is one of our lobbyists from Public Policy Partners, who has many years of experience writing regulations and is a regulations expert.
- Definitions of Direct and Indirect Clinical Hours: LCPCM provided the BOPCT with clarifying language and specific descriptions for “supervised clinical service hours”. Our suggestions were added to the website instructions for applicants and supervisors. This was a previously ambiguous area that for years caused inconsistencies and confusion in our field.
- Supervisor Training Requirement: This year, the BOPCT announced the implementation of a previously unenforced and generally unknown regulation that requires all supervisors of LGPCs (including other mental health clinicians) to have supervision training, to apply to the Board for approval, and to pay a fee. We shared information about the community’s confusion regarding this change and made several requests, including a reduction of the $200 application fee. LCPCM suggested ways for the Board to improve its communication and implementation process overall. LCPCM also alerted the Board that the non-LCPC supervisor application form in use failed to screen for the training that was being required for approval, thereby exacerbating the confusion.
3. On state healthcare regulation and planning workgroups:
As representatives of LCPCM, our members and lobbyists monitor and participate on interagency state committees, public advocacy groups and behavioral health coalitions. These groups generate new ideas for legislation and regulations that effect mental health treatment services in Maryland. For example, member Angela Mazer, LCPC serves on the Children’s Behavioral Health Coalition (CBHC). The Children’s Behavioral Health Coalition (CBHC) brings together a range of advocacy groups with a focus on policy issues and concerns specific to children and youth with behavioral health needs and has produced a 2019 Legislative Agenda. Other groups include the MD Health Insurance Protection Commission (Robyn Elliot, lobbyist) and monitoring the MD Medicaid Advisory Committee (Rachel Faulkner, lobbyist).
4. With National organizations:
- LCPCM members are part of a multistate network of colleagues that write joint letters and proposals supporting or opposing positions taken by national groups such as the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), the Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration. This Network is united by the belief that a CACREP- only avenue to clinical professional counselor licensure is detrimental to the profession. This year, the Virginia Board of Professional Counselors and Virginia Governor’s office have been a special focus of attention. Larry Epp, LCPC, PhD and Elaine Johnson, PhD co-lead this effort on behalf of LCPCM.
- LCPCM representatives attend and participate in national professional meetings and conferences. This year, Hillary Alexander, LCPC and Elaine Johnson, PhD attended the AMHCA Leadership Conference in Orlando and reported back to the LCPCM Board.
1. The LGPC Committee: LCPCM formed a LGPC committee co-chaired by members Robert Castle LCPC and Katy Schaffer PhD. It is creating a guidebook designed to help LGPCs navigate the often confusing and somewhat arduous road to licensure. The guide should be available this Fall. The committee members are LGPCs who provide valuable information to LCPCM, to better serve their needs.
2. Conferences: We offer two full-day conferences a year for CEU’s at a discounted for members. LCPCM works hard to contract with well-known professionals who can provide informative and stimulating trainings. Our networking luncheons are included as a special benefit to our members who continue to support all the work we do.
3. Supervisor Trainings: LCPCM is the main provider of supervisor training for LCPCs and others in Maryland. This 18- hour CEU training is offered 3-4 times a year and fulfills the training requirement for clinicians to be approved by the BOPCT. Marsha Riggio, LPC, PhD teaches the training and consistently gets rave reviews.
4. Committed Professionals: Once an all-volunteer association, today LCPCM has a professional lobbying group (Public Policy Partners) and a webmaster (Debbie Hastings-DesignMe Creative). We also have a business administrator, Sharon Nalley, who has been with us for a year. She is an experienced financial bookkeeper who can professionally handle our increasing volume of diverse activities including registrations and CEU certificates.
5. Supervisor/Supervisee Connection: The LCPCM website has an on-line service to help LGPCs find the supervisor who best meets their needs. It has information about the prospective supervisor’s background, experience, and specialties. The BOPCT’s website lists approved supervisors, but only provides contact information. This service is the brainchild of Robert Castle, LCPC, PhD who designed and implemented the project.
6. BOPCT Nominations: LCPCM nominates members to serve on the BOPCT and submits them to the Governor’s office. We are pleased that over the years, many of our members have been selected and served.
7. Parity: Professional parity is an LCPCM priority. We work toward parity legislatively, but also in the community. If requested, LCPCM will assist members confronted with workplace discrimination based on the LCPC title. Members are encouraged to contact us if you need support or intervention on your behalf.