On October 29th, Governor Whitmer signed HB 4325 into law. HB 4325 relieved some restrictions that were going to make it challenging for licensed mental health professionals to diagnose and treat our youth. This bill will allow school-based health centers to continue giving uninterrupted vital mental health services to kids.
Thank you to everyone for making this possible with your strong and relentless advocacy. We also want to thank Governor Whitmer and Representative Aaron Miller for their dedication to passing this legislation.
Background on HB 4325
This summer, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) submitted proposed rule changes for licensed professional counselors (LPC) that will have significant consequences on the counseling profession, the workforce in Michigan’s public mental health system, and the 150,000 individuals with mental health challenges they serve. A required Regulatory Impact Statement was filed in late August setting the stage for the rules to advance after a scheduled October 4 public hearing. If these regulations were to be enforced, insurance companies would also likely stop reimbursing LPCs for their services due to the significant limits on scope these rule changes would impose.
House Bill 4325 updates the “scope of practice” for counselors in the Public Health Code, mirroring those provisions in the Administrative Rules for counseling. It nullifies the need for proposed department rule changes severely limiting the scope of work and ability to practice for the state’s 10,000 licensed professional counselors.
Licensed professional counselors are required to have bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but not a medical degree like psychiatrists, who can prescribe medications, or a doctoral degree like psychologists. Counselors can evaluate and treat mental health problems through counseling and psychotherapy.
But if LARA removed the term “diagnose” from the rules, counselors said it would be difficult to treat patients without a definitive initial evaluation. And it could affect their ability to get reimbursed for treatment from a patient’s insurance policy. – Detroit Free Press
More about HB 4325: https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/08/house-unanimously-passes-bill-protect-licensed-professional-counselors/3911323002/