American Mental Health Counselors Association

 

E-News from Washington

Vol. 07-45

July 31, 2007

 

Call your Senators and Representative on Medicare

 

A key legislative goal for the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) and its coalition partners, the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the National Board of Certified Counselors, (NBCC) has been to enact legislation to allow mental health counselors to provide services under Medicare. Currently, there are seven bills pending in Congress to accomplish this goal and the next several days may determine our success or failure in gaining the enactment of the provision in 2007.

 

This week both the House and Senate will consider legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which covers approximately 6 million children whose families are low income but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.  AMHCA strongly supports this legislation, especially the House version of the bill, H.R. 3162, as it makes various improvements to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, including establishing Medicare coverage of state-licensed mental health counselors.

 

In the early morning of July 27, 2007, during AMHCA’s annual conference in New Orleans, the House Ways and Means Committee passed H.R. 3162, the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007, legislation to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) and to make improvements to Medicare, including establishing coverage of state- licensed mental health counselors. The bill’s chief sponsors are Reps. Pete Stark (D-CA), Charles Rangel (D-NY), John Dingell (D-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Senate bill, S. 1893, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, does not include improvements to Medicaid and Medicare

 

ACTION NEEDED: All AMHCA members and others interested in the passage of legislation to allow state-licensed mental health counselors to bill Medicare should call your Senators and Representative and ask him or her to vote YES on legislation to reauthorize the SCHIP program.

 

TARGET: All members of the House of Representatives and Senate. If you don’t know the name of your Representative or Senators, visit the following websites at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov. When calling, ask to speak to the Representative or Senator’s health legislative assistant.

 

A special toll-free number has been set up this week by the advocacy organization Families USA (www.familiesusa.org) to the Capitol Switchboard for advocates to use express support for this legislation. The number is 800-828-0498.

 

SUGGESTED MESSAGE:

 

To Senators – “I am calling as a constituent to ask the Senator to vote YES on the children’s health insurance program legislation and NO on amendments to restrict children’s eligibility for health coverage. Thank you for your time and consideration.”

 

To Representatives – “I am calling as a constituent to ask the Representative to vote for H.R. 3162, the CHAMP Act, legislation to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and to make needed improvements to Medicare and Medicaid. It’s time for Congress to improve Medicare’s mental health benefit by coverage state-licensed mental health counselors. Thank you for your time and consideration.”

 

AMHCA needs your help to get this provision approved by Congress. You can make a difference, so please take five (5) minutes of your time to make these calls, and then forward this message to others who may be interested in making these calls.

 

If you need additional information about these efforts, please contact Beth Powell at 800-326-2642 x105, or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Beth Powell

Director, Public Policy and Professional Issues

American Mental Health Counselors Association

The only organization working exclusively for mental health counselors

801 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 304

Alexandria, VA  22314

Phone: 703-548-6002, ext. 105

            800-326-2642, ext. 105

FAX:     703-548-4775

Website:  www.amhca.org

E-mail:     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Share
You are here: Home News & Conferences Legislative Alerts American Mental Health Counselors Association