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


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)


Current Concerns & Advocacy Efforts

 SHB530 Passed in the Senate 10/2/17

SB 530 was voted on final passage in the State Senate on 10/2/17, with a vote of 46-3.  The bill will now be sent to the State House. 

Members of the Government Relations Committee have been working with members of the Executive Committee and the representative from the Lobbying Firm Wooten & Malady to clarify what constitutes the practice scope of LPCs based on the ACA’s 20/20: Vision for the Future of Counseling project definitions and the PA State Board regulations. 

Our amended language includes the term “diagnosis” “and professional counselor assessment” to the definition of “licensed professional counselor” as well as regulating “independent practice of professional counseling” to those who are licensed. This amended language has been included in Senate Bill 530 and passed in the Senate and will now go to the House.

Strengthening our Title Protection and Practice Act will enable us to continue to provide quality care and treatment to our clients.

If you are interested in becoming an active member of the Government Relations Committee, please email us at



Make Your Voice Heard On Banning Conversion Therapy

The Pennsylvania State Senate is considering a bill that would ban conversion therapy on minors. The American Counseling Association formally opposes conversation therapy because it violates their Code of Ethics, can and does cause harm to patients, and attempts to provide “therapy” to something that is not a mental disorder. Please send the following e-mail to your Representatives in Harrisburg. The bill was introduced by Senator Anthony Williams

Please click on the link below to make your voice count. BroadcastLinks/ kkWOkIfbjRCfdYn5SHMG3g



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, what actions you take and any response you receive.

Thank you for your help!


NBCC Government Affairs Staff