January 2023 Legislative Update

  • Friday, January 20, 2023 4:43 PM
    Message # 13066120
    Aaron Norton (Administrator)

    State Legislation

    FMHCA's lobbyist has secured a commitment from Senator Danny Burgess, who will be filing a bill that:

    • Revises F.S. 916.115 to include 491 board licensees among the list of health professionals who can be appointed by the court for evaluations and expert witness testimony on various mental health-related matters for criminal cases
    • Revises  F.S. 491.005(1)(c) such that registered interns in private practice are NOT required to have a licensed professional "on the premises" when providing telehealth
    • Replaces the term "registered mental health counselor intern" with "licensed associate mental health counselor" to (a) be consistent with verbiage used in most other states, and (b) reduce confusion among lawmakers, professionals, and the public, who often associate the word "intern" with college students
    • Adds mental health counselors to the list of professionals whose services can be funded through the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program.

    FMHCA is in talks with a congressman who is interested in filing a companion bill in the House.  Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about the bill being filed.

    Federal Legislation

    The big news with respect to federal legislation is that the Mental Health Access Improvement Act was passed via the fiscal year (FY) 2023 omnibus package H.R.2617, titled the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, and the act has been signed into law by President Biden.  Effective 1/1/24, counselors and marriage and family therapists will be eligible to file claims as Medicare providers.  Between now and then, AMHCA and NBCC will be advising CMS while rules are written about counselors and Medicare.  We are concerned that CMS may restrict counselors to CPT codes related to psychotherapy, possibly excluding CPT codes for psychological testing.  If this were to happen, TriCare and commercial insurance companies could use CMS's rules to justify excluding counselors from reimbursement for testing, and parties wishing to exclude counselors from testing may use those rules to lobby for statutes excluding counselors from testing.  Conversely, if CMS permits counselors access to testing codes, the scope of practice for counselors may be protected (and perhaps expanded in some state).  We will continue monitoring this issue and providing updates.

    Last modified: Friday, January 20, 2023 4:47 PM | Aaron Norton (Administrator)
  • Friday, January 20, 2023 5:06 PM
    Reply # 13066173 on 13066120

    Happy New Year. Thanks for always keeping this top of mind with our group. It's nice to know that I can check into the SMHCA board to get a monthly refresh. #TimeSaver

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