The legislative session this year resulted in a big change in the composition of the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists. With the strong support and leadership of former Senator Paula Hollinger, the art therapists passed licensure legislation and won a new seat on the Board. Unfortunately, our efforts to prevent the removal of two LCPC seats from the Board, succeeded in only saving one. The Board’s composition now consists of 4 LCPC members, 3 LMFT members, 3 LCADC members, 1 Art Therapist member, and 2 consumer members.
LCPCM and the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists were successful in amending the original art therapist licensure bill to include the specific clinical education and training standards that are consistent with the other licensed professionals regulated by the Board.
We have concerns regarding these changes. Board members each have one vote on issues directly effecting our profession. Representation of the professions on the Board is vastly disproportional to the numbers of licensees. Secondly, the workload of our members is much greater due to our greater numbers. For example, members of each profession review applications for licensure and most recently supervisor approval. The reduction of our seats on the Board is likely to delay the processing of applications and possibly the adjudication of grievances.
There are over 3000 LCPCs and LGPCs in Maryland. The numbers of the other licensed groups are in the low hundreds, although the addictions profession certifies approximately 2000 other individuals working under supervision at various levels.
LCPCM has nominated two of our most experienced members on the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, Lisa Jackson-Cherry and Alan Twigg, to serve second 4 year terms. Only one will be able to continue their invaluable service. We owe a debt of gratitude to both for their service to the LCPC profession. If you get a chance, please let each know how much we appreciate their efforts.
Susan Roistacher, LCPC
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.
LCPCM | P.O. Box 7762, Wilmington, NC 28406 • 443-370-1255 • firstname.lastname@example.org