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Life Lines                                                  July 2019
Outstanding Chapter Award 2018-2019

Napoleon Harrington, MMHCA President

American Mental Health Counseling Association Annual Conference  
Happy July!  
This is a great time to be a licensed professional counselor! The profession is growing and advancing in so many remarkable ways, that it is attracting people from all facets of life to contribute the best that they have in the service of humanity.
At the end of June I was fortunate enough to attend the American Mental Health Counselors Association Annual Conference. As a member of the conference planning committee for the 2019 conference; we were very excited to host mental health professionals from across the United States to come together and live out the true meaning of this years theme: Connect, Innovate & Act.
The first day consisted of a trip on the hill where the AMHCA staff prepared all that participated for the opportunity to lobby on Capitol Hill in order to advocate for the interests of the National Organization, as well as, each individual state.

Next came the opportunity for chapter state leaders to participate in the leadership training Day. This was a powerful opportunity for leaders from all over the nation to talk about specific issues that are very important to the nature of the work that we do. We explored the need for innovation and many of the key components of facilitating a successful state organization. During the leadership training one of the pivotal moments was when each of us were presented with a publication entitled "Essentials of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Profession", A guide to further describe the distinctive characteristics of the profession. These will be made available at a date later to be announced as it is in final revisions and preparing for distribution.
The conference program itself was loaded with very interesting topics and field with the best practice conversation for any clinical mental health counselor that is looking to advance their practice as well as being innovative in the work that they do. What I could truly appreciate most is that there was a significant interest paid to the role of integrated health, as well as, neuroscience as a part of the work that we do.
I was fortunate enough to participate in the program this year in an exciting format known as "The Ignite Sessions". It was a Ted talk style presentation that encouraged and motivated conference attendees two consider the impact of their work and continue to stay connected to their purpose. It was quite exciting to present with some of the most remarkable minds on topics that we found important to share at the conference. Ironically, we found our presentations and comments quite synchronized (without being privy to each other's presentation). I thought that was a rather heart warming experience that demonstrated how much we each were in tune with the pulse of our profession.
The experience that I think was the most rewarding during this conference time was not only being nominated for the recognition of Outstanding Chapter, but also being recognized and awarded the honor.
My dear colleagues you have been instrumental in the growth and development of all that MMHCA has been doing for years. This recognition is a testament to all that you have invested in respect to time, talent and treasure in making our chapter stand out amongst our peers. On behalf of the MMHCA board, executive director, and myself, I would like to say thank you for everything that you do that makes our efforts meaningful. You, the MMHCA Members and Professional Counselors of Michigan are the reason that we work so diligently to advocate for our profession and protect our license.
With gratitude,

Napoleon Harrington MA, LPC, NCC
Next MMHCA Board Meeting 
MMHCA Members are invited to attend the next MMHCA Board meeting on Friday, July 26th, 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
Our House Bill has been formally introduced in the House Health Policy Committee.
In spite of objections raised by various professional groups, the members polled by our lobbyist are inclined to move HB4325 forward. The last snag is changes requested by LARA. Conference calls with the MMHCA Public Policy Committee, our lobbyist, and LARA are scheduled as this goes to print. Stay tuned for updates. No action is needed or recommended presently, but we hope for action soon and will request your assistance.
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 now. Since this is an ongoing battle MMHCA cannot win alone. The Lobbying costs are more than we can handle without you. (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.
Go to our mobile friendly website to donate, join, and for information Website: www.mmhca.org . You can connect with me directly at: jamesblundo@att.net 
MMHCA is proud to announce a new 501c3 nonprofit entity. The name is Michigan Mental Health Providers Association (MMHPA). This will allow us to offer broader trainings, workshops, conferences and collaboration.
  • Provide licensed professional health care workers relevant, evidence-based training to enhance the quality of their services to the health care consumers of Michigan.
  • Provide educational training, workshops and seminars, and conferences.
  • Affiliation with associations representing mental health specialties.
It will create the ability for all mental health providers, and mental health organizations to come together to become a force for good for Michigan residents.
A) We are inviting Professional Providers to join as affiliated associations:
Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurses, Substance Abuse Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Music, and Play Therapists, Rehabilitation and School Counselors, etc.
B) We are inviting those who represent consumers of mental health needs and services.
The list is too extensive to include in this article. The advantage of bringing us together is to promote improved communications and improved service delivery between provider and consumer, and create a coalition to give a greater voice to accessing and advancing mental health services in Michigan.
In order to provide this new and necessary development, we will need financial support. Please consider gifting money to our 501c3. Go to our mobile friendly website www.mmhca.org and click on donations. See the donation forms. It is a tax advantaged donation. Consult with your tax advisor, CPA, or contact our business and financial manager Terry Mike at: tmike9968@att.net 
You can still donate to MMHCA 501c6 to support our State Lobbyist. Your donation can be used as a business expense. The form is also online at www.mmhca.org.
Reasons to join and renew MMHCA membership:
We have provided 40 state-wide Human Trafficking Workshops, Monthly Networking Breakfasts featuring BCBSM Consultants, Lobbyist updates, networking opportunities for supervision, internships, partnerships, job search, camaraderie, etc.
Major Trauma Recovery Workshop & Keynote Speaker : Internationally known expert Dr. Colin Ross on Oct. 12th at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing.
Coming Soon!
Private Practice Development
Adult Children of Alcoholics and other Addictions
Substance Abuse and the New Marijuana Laws
Ethics and the Law.
MMHCA is 625 members strong! Auto renewing to be reintroduced.
Go to our mobile friendly website to join and donate. www.mmhca.org 
James Blundo, LPC, CCMHC, NCC
MMHCA Executive Director
New York and Michigan Fight to Protect Scope of Practice
NBCC's Government & Legislative Affairs Department is working with agencies and officials in New York and Michigan as they strive to protect and clarify their scopes of practice for counselors.
The NBCC team is offering assistance to amend and strengthen state licensure laws in areas such as a counselor's scope of practice (SOP). SOP defines the services a counselor is lawfully able to perform in each state. The ability to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health issues is essential to providing core mental health services, and some states are still working to ensure this language is explicitly stated in legislation regarding the practice of counseling.
Since 2015, Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) from New York have been ineligible for employment by the Veterans Administration because the word "diagnosis" is not specifically included in the state's SOP. New York LMHCs will be further impacted in 2022 when an exemption enabling counselors to diagnose in state agencies expires, closing the door on future counselor hires in state agencies such as the Office of Mental Health, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, and Office of Children and Family Services.
LMHCs employed in these agencies prior to the exemption's end will be allowed to remain employed and diagnose. New counselor hires, however, will need statutory diagnostic authority. This restriction will limit the types of jobs open to counselors in state agencies until the New York Mental Health Counselors Association (NYMHCA) and others are able to pass legislation giving LMHCs diagnostic authority.
During the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, NBCC worked with New York on legislation to add diagnostic authority to the LMHC SOP, and also increase clinical training requirements so they mirror those of Licensed Clinical Social Workers. Unfortunately, this legislation did not pass due to opposition from the New York chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
For the 2019 legislative session, NYMHCA and other state leaders are seeking a new Senate sponsor to reintroduce legislation that will allow LMHCs in New York to diagnose.
To aid in this effort, NBCC recently signed on to a "Memorandum of Support" with other national and state organizations to demonstrate full support of this initiative. In early April, Mary Alice Olsan, Director of NBCC's Government & Legislative Affairs Department, and Jolie Long, NBCC's Director of State Affairs, traveled to Albany to attend the NYMHCA Counselor Educator Meeting.
"Connecting with over 70 New York counselor educators and other state leaders and organizations furthered our understanding of how we can work together to make diagnostic authority a reality for New York counselors," Long says.
NBCC is also tracking the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association's (MMHCA) efforts to protect its 30-year-old license and modernize the law that governs Michigan counselors. MMHCA is working to clarify training standards and codify into law existing diagnosis rules through House Bill 4325.
MMHCA's main concern is that without legislation, their SOP is vulnerable to outside influences. This important legislation will clarify the licensure laws and enable counselors to continue providing valuable mental health services in the state.
NBCC actively seeks to promote the counseling profession and support counselors through state legislative and regulatory efforts. By working in conjunction with organizations such as NYMHCA and MMHCA, NBCC can bolster the profession and solidify the importance of counselors in the mental health arena.
NBCC's Government & Legislative Affairs Department encourages all board certified counselors in New York and Michigan to join in these efforts by engaging with legislators and educating them about the vital services counselors provide.    
Bipartisan Mental Health Access Improvement Act Reintroduced in Congress  
On January 31st, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 286) was re-introduced by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI), that will allow mental health counselors to bill Medicare for treating older adults with mental health conditions. AMHCA was instrumental in accelerating the early introduction of S. 286 in the new Congressional session. Please see a press release below about the announcement on the re-introduction of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act. Rep. Thompson (CA-05) and Rep. Katko (NY-24) also announced they have reintroduced the bipartisan Mental Health Access Improvement Act in the House. 
We encourage you to contact two Senators and your Congressional Member in the House of Representatives, to express your support for the Mental Health Access Improvement Act. Please mention Senate Bill 286 and House Bill 945 in your communications. Click below for more information and sample communications to use when writing or speaking to your members of Congress.
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. 
July 12 Speakers & Breakfast Meeting at Leon's in Dearborn
July 19 Private Practice Workshop at Elle's Place in Lansing
August 2 Maximizing Access to the Blue Cross Reimbursement System in Southfield
September TBA Ethics Workshop with Donna Craig in Frankenmuth
September TBA Human Trafficking Workshop in Flint
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 
September TBA     Flint, Michigan
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
Newsletter by:
Cindy S. Goldman, MEd, LPC, NCC
MMHCA Member at Large