Michigan Mental Health Counselors Assoc Image
In This Issue:
Out of My Mind
Advocacy Update
Isaac Robinson Survey
Human Trafficking Training
Important Web Links
Life Lines                                                           April 2020
Out of My Mind
By James Blundo
MMHCA Executive Director
We realize the difficulty during the present crisis. I hope you will continue to support each other. You will be vital to the recovery of America. We will do everything we can to think of ways to position counselors to provide compassion and support for our citizens and each other.
MMHCA has been very busy positioning MMHCA members and LLPC/LPCs to be in the right place to continue our growth as the premier mental health providers in Michigan.  
#1 Successful project: to develop a hotline for LPCs:
  • A month ago, I requested that our lobbyist contact the Governors office and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to consider being included in a hotline for Michigan residents. Our offer was accepted.
  • We developed the Isaac Robinson Survey to recruit LPCs for this purpose.
  • The Isaac Robinson Survey is having two questions added to it, and it is being distributed again for those of you who did not respond to it yet.(See survey in article below in this Email.)
  • Nearly 500 counselors answered the call to the initial survey. Thanks to all that signed up to do pro bono or telehealth for those in need.
  • After considerable negotiations, we were able to include all of those that signed up.
  • As of this week all 500 signed on are included with all layers of hotlines offered by MDHHS and the Governor's office. They may be getting calls soon.
  • In addition, MMHCA was approached by MASW to be included in a list of providers. We are insisting that all approved mental health providers be licensed by the state.
  • We offered MASW all collaborative relationship discussion to better deliver services to the citizens of Michigan. We have already started discussions.
#2 Inclusion of LPCs in Medicare as providers.
  • A month ago, we came up with the idea to request that our existing legislation in the US House HR 945 and Senate S 246 into the next COVID Recovery Bill to be introduced next month. I contacted Senator Stabenow's office. Her staff agreed to consider this idea. Her response was very positive and it's under consideration.
  • We sent out a call to action at the same time to the House of Representatives. If you have not contacted your Rep, please do so soon. Look on our website www.mmhca.org  for information, or watch for information on our Facebook Page (Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association).  
  • Our efforts along with AMHCA has produced positive results.
Inclusion of LPC's is being recommended by federal officials
  • Inclusion will be a huge boost to our profession nationwide and help us advance MMHCA's goal of creating a well-deserved living wage. Let's fight for this!
I am announcing an online Human Trafficking Workshop for Friday May 22 nd. Our presenter is Dr Jeremy Norwood who has produced over 50 workshops with 3000 attendees so far. A certificate will be given to participants. We will not be able to offer CEU's for this workshop. This will be the last chance for anyone who has their license expiring May 31 st. We will have details and registration form on our website next week.
We are creating innovative programs to enhance the profession.
  • Online interaction projects
  • Affinity programs to give added value to your membership.
  • Creating a cutting-edge statewide conference
James Blundo, LPC
MMHCA Executive Director

Next MMHCA Board Meeting 
MMHCA Members are invited to attend the next MMHCA Board meeting via Zoom on Friday, May 15th, at 10:30 am. Location is your home! Please contact Jim Blundo at jamesblundo@att.net if you are interested in attending.
Act Today to Include Counselors in Medicare!
On April 21, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released a report recommending mental health counselors be added to the list of Medicare providers. The timing couldn't be better as AMHCA ramps up efforts to motivate counselors to contact your legislators in support of including our Medicare legislation H.R. 945 and S. 286 in future COVID-19 legislation.

The BPC is a well-respected bipartisan think tank comprised of former senior policymakers. The report, "Confronting Rural America's Health Care Crisis", was prepared by the Rural Health Task Force, led by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, M.D. The report provides bipartisan policy recommendations to stabilize and transform rural health infrastructure, promote the uptake of value-based and virtual care, and ensure access to local providers. Adding licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to the list of Medicare-covered providers was a key recommendation for ensuring an adequate rural health care workforce.

The BPC highlighted how the report's policy recommendations offer solutions to the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. This link parallels AMHCA's efforts to include our Medicare legislation in future COVID-19 stimulus legislation. AMHCA is working closely with our allied organizations from counseling, MFT, and behavioral health clinics to add our language to the next COVID bill. We have received some interest from congressional offices, but have much work to do.

To be successful, we need your help! It is imperative that U.S. Representatives and Senators hear from counselor constituents about the importance of H.R. 945 and S. 286.
We urge  you to contact your legislators today and ask them to include our Medicare bills in the next COVID-19 package.

Contact your Representative and Senator today! Use the links below to find your federal legislators with email and phone numbers:

Find my Senator (top left corner)

Sample message for call or email [fill in bracketed section providing separate messages to Representative and Senators]:

I am a mental health counselor from [city/state]. I urge [Rep. _____/ Sen._____] to include [H.R. 945/S. 286] in the next COVID-19
  relief bill. This legislation authorizes mental health counselors to provide mental health and addiction services to Medicare beneficiaries. Research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to create a behavioral health crisis and there are not enough mental health professionals to meet the needs of the Medicare population. I urge [Rep._____/ Sen._____] to increase the availability of behavioral health services by including [H.R. 945/ S. 286] in the next COVID-19 relief bill. Thank you for your consideration.
MMHCA partners with State of Michigan
to create COVID-19 Mental Health Hotline!!!
You can help!

Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association is directly engaged with Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS), our State Lobbyist Andrea Cascarilla, and Governor Whitmer's office to quickly develop a mental health support component for the State's COVID-19 Hotline. 
MMHCA dedicates this initiative to Representative Isaac Robinson who passed away due to suspected COVID-19 complications.  He was a strong supporter of LPCs and invaluable with passage of HB 4325-PA19 of 2019.
Michigan needs your help!
Are you willing and able to provide services to your fellow Michiganders? This may range from crisis hotline volunteering services to client referral for Telehealth therapy.

For those of you that have already taken the survey, your information has been forwarded by MMHCA to - and distributed by the Michigan Department of Human Services (MDHHS) to all available Help Lines that will be using our services. 

Thanks to MMHCA members and allied Mental Health Professional for signing up.

Those that have not signed up yet will need to fill out this new survey. The NASW Michigan branch will be invited along with other mental health providers to take the survey so the they can be added to our present list.
Please read, complete, and submit this MMHCA Isaac Robinson Survey only if you have not already done so. 
Go to "Survey Monkey" for the Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/28997ZX
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. Acuitas continues to represent LPC's and LLPC's in Lansing thanks to Michigan Mental Health Counseling Association. Please join us to help support this important work! 

Joyce Haskett, LMSW, ACSW, SAP  
Joyce was the first of three women to get her degree from the University of Michigan while in prison. She is now a Clinical Social Worker/Therapist, LMSW, ACSW, SAP helping others work through their own trauma.When she was a child of seven she was molested by an adult with people in the next room.Joyce believes the damage created in that room made her a target for the John that would find her later. When the sale of her body started, no miraculous rescue took place. In the end, she killed her trafficker, and was arrested. Joyce was imprisoned for life. After 17 years and 120 days in prison she was released. Attend the MMHCA Human Trafficking Workshop to hear her story!   
May 22 Online Human Trafficking Workshop (See information below).
September 18-19 MMHCA 2020 Conference in Lansing. (Tentative, to be determined).

We are announcing the ONLINE Human Trafficking Workshop for Friday May 22nd.  
Our presenter is Dr Jeremy Norwood who has produced over 52 workshops with 3000 attendees so far. Participants will receive a certificate. We will not be able to offer CEU's for this workshop. This will be the last chance for anyone who has their license expiring May 31st. We will have details and the registration form on our website next week.

MMHCA Workshops meet the LARA requirements. All Michigan Health Professionals are required to take Human Trafficking training.
"When do I have to meet the requirements for the completion of training in identifying victims of human trafficking?"
Rule 338.3901a requires licensees to complete training in identifying victims of human trafficking. This training requirement will need to be completed prior to license renewal in 2021.
What the Training is About: In this workshop, Dr. Jeremy Norwood will provide professionals in the counseling, health care, and social work fields substantive training regarding the issue of human trafficking and how it relates to their areas of practice.  In response to the rise in the number of cases of human trafficking which have been reported around the State of Michigan, the Michigan legislature has required all counseling professionals to receive training on the topic of human trafficking.
Dr. Jeremy Norwood and Joyce Haskett speak at the MMHCA Human Trafficking Training on February 21, 2020. 

Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association
Newsletter by:
Cindy S. Goldman, MEd, LPC, NCC
MMHCA Member at Large