Government Relations

 

Information on this page:

 


State Policy and Legislation

One of the Pennsylvania Counseling Association's primary objectives is to lobby state legislators and administration officials in Harrisburg for laws and policies that are favorable to professional counselors and the clients that they serve. Advocacy initiatives need to be waged. To learn how you can help, contact the PCA Government Relations Committee at the contact information below.

Contact information:

Kristen Hawk and Nellie Scanlon, Co-chairs
PCAGovernmentRelations@gmail.com

 

Advocacy Resources

1. The LPC Brochure (PDF PCA)

2. The Effectiveness Of And Need For Counselors (PDF ACA)

3. A Vision For The Future Of Counseling The 20/20 Principles For Unifying And Strengthening The Profession: The 20/20 Principles for Unifying and Strengthening the Profession. David M. Kaplan and Samuel T. Gladding ( PDF)

4. PCA Advocacy Day Informational Slides

 

Current Concerns & Advocacy Efforts

 

Professional Counselor Advocacy and our Promotion of Senate Bill 530

SB 530 is a proposed basic practice protection that ensures individuals providing professional counseling services are regulated by the government. This means that professional counselors either work for a regulated entity or are a licensed provider and therefore are regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of State. In the best interest of protecting our clients, practice protection will guarantee a minimum level of education, skill, and responsibility for those who practice professional counseling in Pennsylvania.  The link below includes additional information.

 SB 530 Fact Sheet

 

Federal Policy and Legislation

PCA parent association American Counseling Association (ACA) is working on a number of federal policy issues to advance professional counseling and better serve clients. These issues include, but are not limited to, Medicare coverage for mental healthcare consumers seen by professional counselors, the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy law and regulations, mental health parity, and federal funding for school counseling programs. Your help is needed! To find out how you can help move us forward, or for updates on key federal legislation, visit the ACA's Government Affairs and ACA Legislative Action Center web pages.

 

 S 1830 Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2015

This bill amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to: (1) cover marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services under Medicare, (2) exclude such services from the skilled nursing facility prospective payment system, and (3) authorize marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors to develop discharge plans for post-hospital services.

 

The following is a request for immediate advocacy action:

Medicare Authorization for Counselors | Fall 2017

NBCC needs your assistance in securing authorization for mental health counselors to treat Medicare patients. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) have introduced S. 1879, the Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2017, and we need your help to find co-sponsors for the bill.

Medicare coverage of mental health counselors has been one of NBCC's top legislative priorities for many years. Providing Medicare recognition to mental health counselors will increase access to addiction and mental health services, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

With your help, such coverage could become a reality. We urge you to call your senators immediately and request that they co-sponsor S. 1879. The more contacts with legislators that we can generate, the greater likelihood that we can finally get this bill passed.

Your senators are Patrick Toomey, (202) 224-4254 and Robert Casey, (202) 224-6324.

Please call them as soon as possible and ask them to co-sponsor S. 1879. If you are unsure of what to say, please feel free to use the draft message provided below:

My name is [name] and I am a mental health counselor living in [city, state]. I am calling to urge Senator [name] to co-sponsor S. 1879, which authorizes mental health counselors to serve Medicare beneficiaries. Providing Medicare recognition to mental health counselors will increase access to addiction and mental health services, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Please co-sponsor S. 1879 and provide more counselors to address the opioid crisis. Thank you for your support.

Please let us know, at govtaffairs@nbcc.org, what actions you take and any response you receive.

Thank you for your help!

Sincerely,

NBCC Government Affairs Staff