Michigan Mental Health Counselors Assoc Image
Life Lines                                                  May 2018

It is a great time to be a Michigan counselor! For the past few months MMHCA leadership and it's membership have been working diligently on your behalf. There have been so many activities that we have been involved in ranging from protecting our license to keeping members informed of what's going on around the state regarding our profession. Here are a few things that we have been up to.

Nationally, we have been working diligently with American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) leadership to ensure that we stay informed about things going on nationally that would affect our state directly. Our board members have contributed to meaningful conversation that help to include Michigan's voice in matters of the profession. Also, our board has contributed to publishing articles in the National AMHCA magazine "The Advocate", that help to share best practices with counselors across the nation. Also, we have spent time interacting with congressional and national leadership in regards to supporting Medicare inclusion for all counselors across-the-board. You're MMHCA board has certainly been expanding its reach!

At the state level we have been making meaningful strides towards advocating for our best interest and protecting our license. Our Legislative Committee, MMHCA Board and involved members have been working diligently with our policy advocates and our retained lobbyist in order to ensure that our license is adequately protected and revised as necessary in order to help counselors maximize the value of being a licensed professional counselor. In the very near future, we will be calling on you; our members and non-members alike that hold a professional counselors license to advocate for their profession by contacting local leaders to help support our initiatives.

Any progress that we have been able to achieve is a direct reflection of strength of our membership and the effectiveness of our executive board/committees I send a sincere "thank you" to our supporters from the Upper Peninsula all the way to Metro Detroit and everywhere between in this great state. it is because of you that we have been able. I am very proud to help spread the mission and vision of the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association. Let's continue in the work of improving the quality of care we provide to our consumers and increasing the opportunities and visibility of the professional counselor.

Napoleon Harrington MA, LPC, NCC MMHCA President

May 18 Human Trafficking at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo
June 8 Techniques in Billing and Coding at Baker College in Auburn Hills
June 16 Private Practice Legal Issues at Rochester College in Rochester Hills
June 22 MMHCA Speakers & Networking Breakfast at Kerby's Koney Island in Southfield
June 29 Human Trafficking at Park Place Hotel in Traverse City
July 13 MMHCA Speakers & Networking Breakfast at Eat Well Cafe in Sterling Heights

Don't let Congress abandon America's senior citizens! AMHCA Is Partnering with AAMFT, ABHW, ACA, CAMFT, and NCBH to Provide Medicare Coverage for Licensed Mental Health Counselors
As you know, our country is experiencing a terrible crisis as thousands of Americans have become addicted to opioids. Congress is drafting legislation to combat this epidemic, but as they move this legislation forward, they have failed to fully protect Medicare beneficiaries.
None of the legislation currently considered by key Congressional Committees would allow Medicare beneficiaries to seek treatment from Licensed Mental Health Counselors or Marriage and Family therapists for their addiction!
One of the fastest growing segments of the population becoming addicted to opioids are Medicare beneficiaries. By leaving out LMHCs or MFTs, Congress is denying Medicare patients access to 40% of the behavioral health workforce!
We are in a crisis, and we need every available mental health practitioner to be mobilized and accessible to everyone suffering from this horrible addiction. That's' why Congress must include H.R. 3032/S. 1879 in any legislative package they pass. H.R. 3032/S. 1879 authorizes LMHCs and MFTs to serve as Medicare providers. It's a common-sense bill which can help many Americans in their time of need.
Contact your Member of Congress today in the House of Representatives (using the link below) who represents your district, and demand they include H.R. 3032 in any opioid package!
Sample Script
Dear Senator or Representative:
I am calling (or writing) to request you include H.R. 3032 in any legislative package to address the opioid crises.

H.R. 3032 authorizes Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) and Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) and to serve Medicare beneficiaries. Both LMHCs and MFTs have the training necessary to treat those suffering from addiction. With Medicare currently paying for one-third of all opioid-related hospitalizations, we cannot afford to exclude these two professions from the fight. LMHCs and MFTs constitute 40% of the mental health workforce in our country. Sometimes they are the only available addictions' therapists available in certain parts of the country.

In combating this epidemic, we must make every provider available to those suffering from addiction. By including H.R. 3032 in any legislative package passed by Congress, you can ensure we are doing just that.

By allowing senior's access to all addictions counselors, you can create the best solution to this epidemic.
Executive Director Report
Out of My Mind
We have continued to grow in numbers and stature. Our highly acclaimed Human Trafficking workshop, was held recently at Rochester College. It was the 28th workshop and approximately 1500 health professionals have completed our training.
The next three workshops will be held on:
  1. May 18 th WMU Fetzer Center in Kalamazoo
  2. June 29th Park Place Hotel Traverse City
  3. July 27 in Grand Rapids. Site to be determined
Go to our mobile friendly Website to register. www.mmhca.org 
Several more Human Trafficking workshops are being planned for this fall and 2019.
Our big push now is to help mental health professional develop private and group practices to help more clients and to create a living wage for Masters and Doctoral level mental health providers.
We recently held our first workshop on private practice. It will be repeated around the state. There will be additional and helpful topics on this topic covered over the next year.
Here is a list of some of them.
Legal issues, mission and vision statements, marketing strategies, business practices, niche options, integrated care, business coaching, teaching, consulting, and mentoring.
The next workshop will be on Billing and Coding on June 8th. This workshop is a must! Many therapists have expressed difficulties with billers. This will educate you on the best practices and how to work better with billing.
On June 16th we will be presenting a new workshop on legal matters and private practice. The presenter is Donna Craig JD. Her credentials and experience are impeccable. She has represented both counselors and nurses with LARA, Board of Counseling and in the Courts.
She is now a MMHCA Board Member and consultant to MMHCA members.
Another goal is to offer Networking Breakfast every month of the year across Michigan. At each event we offer a legislative update, state of the profession, and informal networking with peers. In addition, Blue Cross Consultants will bring you up to date on navigating their reimbursement system. You don't need to be a member to attend.
We need your membership to be able to represent your interests in both the state legislature and state agencies (LARA, MDHHS, Community Mental Health, etc.)
A bill has been initiated to included diagnosis in our LPC Bill. Once this bill has passed, portability will be achievable. We will need you help to accomplish this major undertaking.
Become a member:
Pricing will be substantially less to MMHCA members for all of our workshops and training.
I. The best value for you? Join or renew your MMHCA membership.  
II. If you're not sure whether your membership is current please email: jamesblundo@att.net .
III. Help us promote the work of MMHCA by forwarding this information to your peers.
Like us on Facebook!
James Blundo, LPC, CCMHC, NCC
MMHCA Executive Director
Presenting Ms Donna Craig, JD!

On June 16 we will be presenting a new workshop on legal matters and private practice. The presenter is Donna Craig, JD. Her credentials and experience are impeccable. She has represented both counselors and nurses with LARA, Board of Counseling and in the courts. Donna is now a MMHCA Board Member and consultant to MMHCA members. 

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 
May 18 at Western Michigan University
June 29 At Park Place Hotel in Traverse City
July 27 in Grand Rapids-site to be determined

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

My favorite aspect about counseling is the connection to another human being. The trick is to really connect so the communication is real, direct, honest. "The successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings" according to my Google dictionary. It is something that we can learn about in school, but considering that each of us is so unique, it takes some skill. Isn't that the trick in our everyday world as well? What is your favorite aspect about counseling? Meeting new people? Get involved with MMHCA, attend a Breakfast meeting. You can learn a lot from your colleagues in this exciting professional counseling world!

Newsletter by:
Cindy S. Goldman, MEd, LPC, NCC
MMHCA Member at Large