Legislation on Licensed Professional Counselors Moves to Senate
Posted on October 10, 2019
The MHA is working on behalf of licensed professional counselors (LPCs) to maintain their current, longstanding scope of practice and patients’ access to care by behavioral health professionals. This effort involves both proposed rule changes through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and legislation that has been reported by the full House of Representatives to the Senate.
Due to limitations of current law, LARA recently issued proposed rules that would greatly reduce the scope of practice of LPCs across the state. Using the reasoning that current law does not explicitly allow LPCs to diagnose patients, the proposal would remove their ability to do so. Without a diagnosis, LPCs would be unable to provide treatment. The MHA provided written comments to LARA at an Oct. 4 public hearing to express its opposition to the changes in the proposed rules. Several recent independent policy studies about Michigan’s behavioral health workforce recommend that the state seek ways to maximize the capacities of all current behavioral health professionals. However, the proposed rule changes would have the opposite effect, to the degree that Michigan could lose thousands of behavioral health professionals.
On Oct. 8, the full House reported the MHA-supported House Bill (HB) 4325 to the Senate. HB 4325, introduced by Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), would codify into law current LPC rules that have been recognized as part of an LPC’s scope for more than 30 years. Throughout that time, LPCs have proved they can effectively treat patients. Clarifying their scope in law will ensure patients continue to have adequate access where there is a provider shortage.
The MHA is working to ensure HB 4325 passes in a timely manner and has requested that the rules process progress slowly. This would ensure the LPC scope of practice is appropriately defined to best fit the needs of behavioral healthcare providers and the patients who benefit from their services. Members with questions should contact Paige Fults at the MHA.
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