LMHC Bills Need Co-Sponsors NOW
April 15, 2021 01:15 PM
It’s Co-sponsor Time on Beacon Hill!
Joseph Weeks, LMHC , MaCCS, Director Public Policy & Legislation
MaMHCA has filled legislation to continue our advocacy and pursuit for equity and the protection of our client, community and colleagues. MaMHCA, in partnership with Representative Josh Cutler and Representative Kathy LaNatra, have filled 5 separate bills to ensure that the future of LMHCs and our clients continues to improve.
Here’s Where You Come In - Help MaMHCA Create the Wave of Interest!
We need co-sponsors.That’s the best way to get attention and traction when bills are introduced. It’s the best way to predict the way votes will go when the time comes. The House voted to allow for co-sponsors to attach their names to bills up until the first committee takes an action on the bill. This means we have more time to get more names. Typically we have been very fortunate to get 20-30 names attached to our bills. That’s something to be incredibly proud of. However, we have struggled to get the bills outside of the first committee, various issues account for this, but this MUST be our year.
MaMHCA is challenging the membership to help us get no less than 60 names attached to our bills for co-sponsors.You can see here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/HD2014where we are at for Section 12 co-sponsors for example. We will have hyperlinks on our website with all of the bills to see, as they are updated, who is signed on and who still needs to be contacted.
Sample Scripts, Advocacy Letters for Your Use
On the MaMHCA website we have call scripts, advocacy sheets and other supports to assist in your efforts. We plan on doing outreach via zoom to which myself, or other MaMHCA representatives can assist in how to advocate. We’ll be meeting with legislators who will be assisting with meeting our membership as well.
This is our time! We need to band together and get this legislation passed. As a profession, we have waited and worked hard to make this happen. Let’s make it a reality this year!
Our MaMHCA Bills: MaMHCA, in partnership with Representative Josh Cutler and Representative Kathy LaNatra, have filled 5 separate bills to ensure that the future of LMHCs and our clients continues to improve.
Representative Cutler has filed:
HD.2014 “An Act relative to Expanding Access and Safety of Mental Health Services”This is our Section 12 bill which includes language to allow for the transport of LMHC clients to be assessed for safety at a hospital. This affords LMHCs the ability to ensure our clients have ready access to additional hospital-based care when in severe crisis. This immediate access to psychiatric evaluation within a hospital setting is only available now if documentation is signed by another licensed professional (who usually has training & education comparable to ours, or less than ours in the case of police). Eliminating this step decreases delay in care and increases safety for all concerned.
HD.2011 “An Act relative to Establishing a Behavioral Health Workforce Development Trust Fund”This legislation provides funding opportunities for Behavioral Health Agencies to seek grants to help defray the costs the unfunded mandate to provide supervision at their sites heretofore at the sole expense of the Agency. This legislation is important toward the goal of ensuring that quality supervision is taking place and Agencies have the financial resources needed to ensure that clinicians can provide the quality work to individuals and families.
HD.2012 “An Act relative to Funding the Behavioral Health Workforce Development Trust Fund”This legislation funds HD.2011 by taking funds already collected by non-profit hospitals that are allocated to larger workforce trust funds and carves out specific funds for behavioral health workers. Such a fund does not exist, which begs the need for HD.2011.
HD.2015 “An Act Establishing a Board of Registration of Licensed Mental Health Counselors”This legislation allows for LMHCs to have their own Licensing Board outside of the Allied Board of Mental Health. This board would consist of a 9 person group, 2 at-large and the rest, LMHCs. Massachusetts and the LMHC profession has reached a point where the over 7000 licensed and soon to be licensed LMHCs professionals need direct and sole oversight of our own profession. This legislation allows for the establishment of our own LMHC board and also creates an entry level license. This piece is particularly important because it allows both for an earlier opportunity for tuition reimbursement and other state and federal programs that require a license to apply; and also makes it easier for Agencies to bill for services provided by aspiring LMHCs.
Representative LaNatra has taken on the lead sponsor role for HD.3647 “An Act Creating an entry-level licensing program to allow applicants to practice under supervision prior to becoming a licensed mental health counselor”This legislation particularly focuses on the entry level license described in the legislation above. We at MaMHCA, in collaboration with legislators, believe that the entry level license is integral to improving the profession for all, but in particular newly graduated students. We are working hard to find optimal working conditions, competitive job opportunities and ways to improve the professional development our new professionals. Carving out the entry level license and introducing this effort in multiple ways gives us the best shot to be able to advocate directly for the needs of our members while lessening the risk of larger bills stalling important progress. This would also positively impact the Commonwealth’s goal of much needed economic recovery.
This particular aspect of our legislation became a popular focus and was incorporated into many bills and amendments in the last legislative session and we hope to continue to build on that momentum.
This is our time! We need to band together and get this legislation passed. As a profession, we have waited and worked hard to make this happen. Let’s make it a reality this year! See you on Beacon Hill!
Help MaMHCA Create the Wave!
Share Your Story on why LMHCs Need Section 12A Privileges
Join MaMHCA for our Virtual Rallys - dates will be posted in the events calendar