Michigan Mental Health Counselors Assoc Image
Life Lines                                                  April 2019
Our License and Scope of Practice are being challenged by the State!

The LLPC/LPC Bill which governs your license to practice as a counselor has been challenged as to its legitimacy several times, mostly around the ability to diagnose.
It has been decided, most recently by the state, that if we don't pass a bill to codify diagnose, it will be removed from our scope of practice and other elements including portability and supervision standards will be weakened
We are introducing a bill to codify diagnosis and to modernize the LPC law that governs our profession.
Our greatest concern is if the Department of Licensing and Regulation removes our ability to diagnose and other changes to Scope of Practice they are recommending, we will not be viable to practice and have less opportunities for future employment. Our license will become weakened. It will also destroy the credibility and respect gained over the past thirty years.
We are requesting help from all LLPC/LPC's in Michigan for your membership as well as donations. 1) Membership numbers equal power with the legislature. We presently have 580 members. 2) We have lobbyist costs of about $30,000 per year. And that is quickly depleting our MMHCA funds. If you are not a LLPC/LPC but support our mission, please donate what you can.
For more information contact: jamesblundo@att.net 
Join us to protect and advance the counseling profession in Michigan.
1. Donate to fund our legislative initiate to update our scope of practice, codify diagnosis and create portability. (go to the "Donate to MMHCA" tab)
2. Join MMHCA and invite another to join.
3. Renew MMHCA membership if it has expired.
4. Volunteer as a Committee member.
Next MMHCA Board Meeting 
MMHCA Members are invited to attend the next MMHCA Board meeting on Friday, May 17, at 10:00 am. Location is Ashland Theological Seminary in Southfield. Guest speaker includes Andrea Cascarilla from Acuitas LLC. Must RSVP to attend, contact jamesblundo@att.net.
Executive Director Report
Out of My Mind
Please act now by contacting your member of the Michigan House and asking them to support HB4325. Tell them about your services in their district and how the failure to support our legislation will cut off mental health services delivery to their constituents
The Department of Licensing and Regulation (LARA) is about to rewrite our Scope of Practice without our input ! This means our 30-year LLPC/LPC license will be watered down including the removal of ability to diagnose, supervision requirements altered and other services invalidated.
Here is how you can help since this is an ongoing battle MMHCA cannot win alone. The Lobbying costs are more than we can handle much longer. (Present cost $30,000 per year). We need to grow our membership to grow our resources in both numbers and dollars. Please join MMHCA, invite a peer to join, donate to the lobbying effort, or participate as an MMHCA committee member.
The MMHCA Action Plan on behalf of all Counselors in Michigan:
  • The House Bill (HB4325) to protect our license will be reintroduced this month.
  • Creating a living wage for Counseling Professionals by lobbying for an improvement of our license.
  • Greater exposure on social media. Please like us on Facebook!
  • Continue retaining a powerful lobbying firm to advance our agenda
  • A 501c3 (MMHPA - Michigan Mental Health Providers Association) allowing mental health providers, individuals and business to affiliate & gift, enabling us to offer programs, acquire grants, sponsorships, seminars for consumers, etc.
  • Bridging Initiative has been created to help Graduate Students and New Professional to improve their ability to succeed in the profession.
  • Will provide more Human Trafficking Training Workshops (over and above the 44 we provided to date) to fulfill the LARA requirement that all health professional must have training in-order to renew their license. (Over 2500 counselors and social workers have taken our course).
  • Workshops will be provided regionally along with some new offerings:
  1. Human Trafficking (Michigan law requires all professional health licensed persons to have this type of training in-order to renew).
  2. Billing and Coding
  3. Navigating the Blue Cross Reimbursement System
  4. Ethics and Legal Issues
  5. Private Practice Development
  6. Treatment of Adult Children of Alcoholics
  7. Trauma Recovery through Reattachment Therapy
  8. Substance Abuse Treatment workshops with MCBAP approval
  • Monthly Networking Breakfasts scheduled across Michigan.
Why Attend?
  1. Camaraderie with peers
  2. BCBS Consultants teach how to navigate the reimbursement system
  3. Updates about the latest public policy and legislation issues impacting our ability to practice
  4. Great environment for sharing, job possibilities, supervision and internship needs, business opportunities, etc.
* Membership in MMHCA is not required to attend.
Legislative and Public Policy Initiatives:
  • Hired the Public Relations Firm: Acuitas LLC (www.acuitasllc.com).
  • Introduced and originally passed House Bill HB5776 legislation to update the LPC License with the intent of creating Portability and codifying diagnosis. Subsequently our Bill was blocked on the final session day of 2018 preventing the Governor's signature. Our HB4325 has been introduced. The press release and bill can be found on the MMHCA website under news.
  • Medicare Inclusion - Because I am the newly elected member of the AMHCA Board of Directors, I am closely in tune with the strategies needed to pass our LPC inclusion.
  • We are identifying sources of funding within state, national and private grants to work on mental health, opioid and other addictions, mental health in the schools and other specialized programs.
Information or Volunteer: jamesblundo@att.net 
Website: www.mmhca.org  
The next step is up to you. Go to our mobile friendly website to join and donate. www.mmhca.org
James Blundo, LPC, CCMHC, NCC
MMHCA Executive Director

Representative Miller's plan clarifies scope of practice for Michigan counselors 

State Rep. Aaron Miller, of Sturgis, has introduced a measure to update and clarify counseling practices under Michigan law.
Miller said updates are needed to ensure the law reflects the actual scope of practice and training of licensed professional counselors, and to be consistent with wording in the Board of Counseling's Administrative Rules.
This measure would be the first update to this law since it was enacted 30 years ago.
"Current statute is outdated and does not accurately reflect what is practiced by counselors today," Miller said. "This plan brings Michigan law up to date."
The most notable issue is whether counselors are able to provide diagnosis and psychotherapy. Miller's bill clarifies the current counseling techniques and includes psychotherapy and diagnosis in Michigan law.
The bill was referred to the House Health Policy Committee for consideration.
Bill Aimed at Increasing Hiring of Counselors by the VA Introduced in Senate
Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) have introduced the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019. Among its many provisions regarding suicide prevention and access to treatment, the legislation directs the VA to work with the Office of Personnel Management to create an occupational series for mental health counselors.
The bill also would mandate that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs submit a staffing plan that would increase the hiring of mental health counselors to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees within 270 days of passage. The VA would also be required to report on the specific number of mental health counselors it has hired based on the staffing plan.
NBCC's Government and Legislative Affairs Department has been pushing for the increased hiring of counselors in the VA for years. This legislation is a major step toward achieving that goal. We will continue to support this legislation to ensure it is considered before the entire Senate.
If you have any personal experience with employment challenges with the VA, please email NBCC at govtaffairs@nbcc.org. Your stories will help legislators understand the true impact of this important legislation!
Ms. Andrea Cascarilla

Ms. Andrea Cascarilla is Legislative Director at Public Relations firm, Acuitas, LLC in Lansing.  MMHCA hired Acuitas to represent LPC's and LLPC's in our state capital. Her work has been tantamount to our efforts to protect our license in the state. With Guidance from Acuitas, and much hard work by MMHCA's Public Policy Co-Chairs, Sara Schaeffer and Irene Ametrano, as well as Executive Director, Jim Blundo and President, Napoleon Harrington, progress is being made. 

Jeremy S. Norwood, MA, PHd, JD
Dr. Jeremy Norwood is currently an Associate Professor and serves as Chair of the Department of Sociology, Global Studies, and Criminal Justice at Spring Arbor University.  In addition to completing his doctoral dissertation on human trafficking indicators amongst migrant farmworker populations in Western Michigan, he has helped to train thousands of professionals from several fields. 
May 10 Human Trafficking Workshop at Bellbrook Senior Living in Rochester HIlls
June 14  Human Trafficking Workshop at Life Church of Gaylord, in Gaylord
October 12 Trauma Recovery all day Conference at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing. Featuring Colin Ross as keynote speaker.
New Michigan Law Requires Training In Human Trafficking!
Upcoming Human Trafficking Workshops 
May 10     Bellbrook  in Rochester Hills
June 14    Life Church of Gaylord

More Information and Online Registration on www.mmhca.org.
Human Trafficking Information
There has been much confusion regarding the required training standards by the new Michigan Law regarding Human Trafficking.
It is difficult to determine what you are obligated to take to meet the state requirements.  If your only goal is to meet the minimum standards, then our training is probably not for you.
MMHCA decided to offer the best workshop available based on the laws outlined. We created the best possible training available. Here is how we did it.
Dr. Jeremy Norwood who is on the faculty at Spring Arbor University was approached to develop the workshop. He used the stated language from the bill and developed an outline. We then looked at his extensive knowledge of the topic and decided to have him produce a powerful workshop based on his knowledge and experiences.
In addition to his extensive work in this arena, every year he takes a group of students to Asia to study Human Trafficking. Dr. Norwood is presently in Cambodia with a group of students studying the sociological impact and its connection to US trafficking.
Those that have taken the workshop describe it as powerful and intense. They walk away with a greater understanding of the major impact and possible strategies for intervention.
Please consider our offering. It will change your life for the better. In addition, it qualifies for 6 hours of CEU's and a certificate to prove your participation.
We encourage health professionals and graduate students to use our workshops for the best quality training in Michigan.

Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association
Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington

  Sober Curious is the title of a new book that has captured my attention. I am always interested in different (more helpful?) labels for people struggling with alcohol. Warrington reports that one in eight Americans is dependent on alcohol. It is an issue that as professional counselors needs our focus. Alcohol Addiction was defined as a disease by the AMA in 1956. For many, thinking about addiction as a disease for which abstinence is the only cure may just drive them into a continuous cycle of shame and repetitive unhealthy patterns of drinking. With the prevalence and normalization of alcohol consumption in our culture it can be hard for people to accept that label of being an alcoholic. The author has started sobriety support groups that help people lose their obsession with alcohol and come to terms with the silence and shame of addiction. Staying hung up on the label of alcoholic may keep people from getting the help they need. 1956 was a long time ago! Perhaps it is time for more and or different definitions, different labels if you will, for an ongoing problem in our society. Are you curious?
Newsletter by:
Cindy S. Goldman, MEd, LPC, NCC
MMHCA Member at Large