LCPCM believes there are several issues that may be getting lost in reference to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommendation that all mental health counseling programs be accredited by CACREP.
Fifty to seventy percent of counseling programs are not CACREP accredited; and CACREP is not a mandatory accrediting agency. Whatever the merits of the recommendations, they overreached in asking universities and state boards to collectively abandon their current standards and adopt the IOM recommendations, if they wish their state’s counselors to be recognized by TRICARE. A profession cannot change this quickly; and current members and students are getting caught in the controversy.
The CACREP Accreditation issue has regrettably been divisive to our profession. CACREP must create accrediting standards that are achievable and affordable by our universities. And they have to stop arguing that CACREP graduates are superior when this has no basis in fact. LCPCM also recommends achievable grandfathering standards in TRICARE, the Veterans Administration and potentially MEDICARE that excludes CACREP Accreditation as a criterion.
LCPCM is worried that the IOM model, with its mandatory CACREP Accreditation, will become the standard for MEDICARE providers; and if it does, this will be a great blow to Maryland LCPCs, most of whom did not graduate from CACREP Programs. It is like telling our nation's lawyers who have passed their bar and have been practicing successfully for many years, that they are not qualified since their law school was not accredited by a voluntary accrediting body (that may not have even existed at the time they were in school) and they must take a new exam, despite their many years of effective practice.
It is ironic that Maryland LCPCs can treat Members of Congress and the Executive Branch, since we are recognized by Federal Blue Cross and Blue Shield, but we are felt unqualified to serve veterans and military families who need our services desperately.