Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association

Legislative Update September 2021

  • Friday, September 17, 2021 4:17 PM
    Message # 11097663
    Aaron Norton (Administrator)

    State Legislative Update

    The Government Relations Committee (GRC) of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA), our parent chapter, recently prepared a report recommending that FMHCA secure legislative sponsors for a mental health counseling bill for this legislative session that, in my opinion, is a landmark bill that, if passed, would have a substantial impact on advancing our profession in Florida.  

    I recommend reading our full report by clicking here.  

    This week, the FMHCA Board of Directors voted to authorize the GRC and FMHCA's lobbyists to seek legislative sponsors for the bill pending favorable feedback from the FMHCA membership.

    The bill would accomplish four things:

    1. Add Florida to the interstate counseling compact, enabling LMHCs to practice (in-person or via telehealth) in states that are members of the compact without obtaining an additional license.
    2. Revise F.S. 916.115 to include LMHCs, LMFTs, and LCSWs in the list of mental health professionals courts can appoint as expert witnesses.
    3. Revise F.S. 491.005(1)(c) to remove the requirement that registered interns have a licensed mental health professional on the premises when providing clinical services (including telehealth).
    4. Replace the terms "registered mental health counselor intern," "registered marriage and family therapy intern," and "registered clinical social work intern" with "licensed associate mental health counselor," "licensed associate marriage and family therapist," and "licensed associate clinical social worker" consistent with most states.

    For the next week, FMHCA will be collecting feedback from its members on this proposed bill.  If you are a FMHCA member, please click here to provide your feedback.  

    Federal Legislative Update

    Our national parent chapter, the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), as well as the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), put out calls to action for counselors across the country to participate in Virtual Advocacy Day in support of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, which would finally give counselors and marriage and family therapists the right to bill Medicare.  If you haven't already, please follow the instructions in the attached documents and contact your legislators to support the bill!

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Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association
P.O. Box 2853 Pinellas Park, Florida 33780

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