“A step in the right direction”
Over 10,000 practitioners who are Licensed Professional Counselor can breathe a little easier as can the thousands of consumers of counseling throughout the state and the multitude of agencies and practices who rely on them to provide needed services.
Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4325 to update the scope of practice for counselors in the Public Health Code. The bill will ensure that Licensed Professional Counselors can still diagnose and treat patients.
The bill came into being as a response to rules being promulgated by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The proposed rules would have removed the ability of counselors to diagnose and offer psychotherapy.
“Licensed Professional Counselors provide a high quality clinical services through our clinical practice to the people we serve,” said Newaygo County Mental Health Executive Director Carol Mills. “We are grateful to the Michigan Legislature and Governor Whitmer for recognizing the valuable role LPC’s have today in the public Community Mental Health system.
“Passage of this bill enables us to continue on our mission of providing high quality care to persons in need of mental health services in Newaygo County.”
The bill clarifies that a Licensed Professional Counselor can practice without supervision and can supervise a limited licensed counselor once they have completed training in supervision as required by LARA. LARA may also bring forward rules necessary to supplement the requirements for licensure.
House Bill 4325, sponsored by Rep. Aaron Miller (HD-59), was passed unanimously by both chambers of the Michigan Legislature.
“The grass roots effort which resulted in making into a bill passed unanimously in both houses of the State legislature and signed into law by the governor will ensure that over 100,000 Michigan citizens will continue to receive mental health care from LPC’s,” said Gregory Hayes an LPC who practices at NCMH.
Lori Goldin another NCCMH practitioner also spoke of the important local impact of the initiative.
“This bill was very relevant with regard to LPC’S who work in community mental health,” she stated. “Clients with generational poverty and mental illness who depend on the relationships they have with their counselors stood to lose their supports unless Governor Whitmer signed this bill. These clients have no place else to get their services. “
“This new law will protect professional counselors from losing the ability to practice as they currently do,” added Governor Whitmer. “We must continue to work hard to ensure every Michigander has access to critical mental health care, and this is a step in the right direction.”
Newaygo County Community Mental Health is located in White Cloud.
For more information please visit their website at http://www.newaygocmh.org/