Michigan Mental Health Counselors Assoc Image
Life Lines                                                  January 2019
Executive Director Report
Out of My Mind
Happy New Year from MMHCA
This article is directed at Counselor Education Programs, Educators, Students and Practicing Counselors. I ask you to read this first section
The Department of Licensing and Regulation (LARA) is about to rewrite our Scope of Practice without our input ! This means our 30-year license will be watered down including the 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 $25,000 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.
Information or Volunteer: jamesblundo@att.net 
Website: www.mmhca.org 
The MMHCA Action Plan on behalf of Counselors in Michigan:
  • The House Bill 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
  • Create 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 continuation to help Graduate Students and New Professionals to improve their ability to succeed in the profession.
  • Provide more Human Trafficking Training Workshops (over and above the 40 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
  • 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. It is due to be reintroduced this January.
  • 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.
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
Next MMHCA Board Meeting 
MMHCA Members are invited to attend the next MMHCA Board meeting on Friday, January 18, at 10:00 am. Location is Ashland Theological Seminary in Southfield. Guest speakers include Andrea Cascarilla from Acuitas LLC, and Dr. Todd Liebert, Chair of the Counselor Education Department at Oakland University. Must RSVP to attend, contact jamesblundo@att.net.
2018 was a busy year in Lansing for MMHCA


MMHCA Hired the Public Relations Firm: Acuitas LLC (www.acuitasllc.com) to assist with lobbying in Lansing, we are represented by Andrea Cascarilla.


In 2018, we 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. It is due to be reintroduced January of 2019. Keep watch for updates on the website.


Pictured above are Jim Blunco; Andrea Cascarilla; Aid to Representative Tedder's office; Irene Ametrano; and Sara Schaeffer.  

January 25 Human Trafficking Workshop at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti
February 1 Breakfast Networking Meeting at DaVinci's Italian Restaurant in Frankenmuth
Coming in February, Private Practice Workshop at a TBA Location in Oakland County
Coming in March, Growing a Counseling Practice with Less Legal Risk Workshop at a TBA Location in Kalamazoo.
Bridging Initiative for Students and New Professionals
The Michigan Mental Health Counseling Association invites you to engage in the Bridging Initiative experience. This initiative is designed to help students and new professionals make connections and bridge the gap between the learners and mental health industry by providing:
- Opportunities to network with local industry professionals
- Discounted rates for MMHCA events and conferences
- Access to the complete library of Competency building workshops, webinars and trainings with new       
  workshops added monthly (starting October 2018)
- Virtual question and answer hotline with a library of FAQs
We would like to hear from you! 
Forward your comments or questions, and suggestions of ways we may provide support for your student to new professional journey, to Dr. Katherine E. James at mmhcaBI@gmail.com
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. 
All health professionals licensed in Michigan are required to have a course in Human Trafficking in order to renew their license. This law was passed by the state legislature with oversight by the Department of Licensing and Regulation (LARA). We are offering seven workshops around the state through May of this year to meet this requirement. There will be more workshops offered in the fall and in 2019. 6 CEU's provided for LLPC/LPC, Social Workers, and CAADC. All health professionals are welcome. Register at: www.mmhca.org
New Michigan Law Requires Training In Human Trafficking!
Upcoming Human Trafficking Workshops 
January 25 at Eastern Michigan University

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
New Year Fresh Beginnings
At 1:30 in the morning on New Years Eve at a lovely home on the BIg Island in Hawaii, My husband and I were woken up by the urgent knocking and voice of the owner from whom we were renting our piece of paradise. "A brush fire started by fireworks is up the hill, keep a watch out and be ready to take action if necessary." Well, you should have seen how quickly we sprang into action! We woke our children and grandson, threw things into our suitcases, jumped into the rental car and took off! All turned out well, fire was contained by helicopters, and no homes were harmed. My family although alarmed, was fine. It gave us a small idea of what California has been going through.  
After thinking about how lucky we were it wasn't more serious, I started to reflect about 2018 and MMHCA. Despite a year of changing our Lobbyist and numerous events in Lansing that required our attention, we sprang into action whenever necessary. I am especially grateful for our MMHCA Board of Directors. They are always ready to jump into action; make phone calls, send texts and emails, attend numerous meetings in Lansing, write documentation to present to LARA or our legislators. MMHCA also wants to thank all of our MMHCA members and friends who made calls, wrote emails, and traveled to Lansing to support our efforts! There is much good that can happen when we all work together. Please join MMHCA if you have not already, to help support our efforts to protect our Scope of Practice in the state of Michigan. We have committees that need leadership and members. Join us, keep a watch out and be ready to take action if necessary!
Newsletter by:
Cindy S. Goldman, MEd, LPC, NCC
MMHCA Member at Large