Helping News                                                February, 2023   Issue 164

From The ACA (American Counseling Association)
We did it!

For over a decade, the American Counseling Association and its partner organizations have advocated for the successful passage of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/H.R. 432). Although this bill has previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, it has never passed both at the same time. Today we can say that this monumental legislation has passed in both chambers and is on its way to President Biden to be signed into law. 

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act will close the gap in federal law that prevents licensed professional counselors from being recognized as Medicare providers. The legislation is expected to give Medicare beneficiaries immediate access to more than 225,000 additional licensed mental health professionals and to help close the widening treatment gap.

What’s next?

Now the bill will be sent to President Biden to be signed into law. Once signed, the legislation will immediately become an enacted law. Which means Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) will be added to the list of Medicare providers. This process may take 12–24 months for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to update regulatory language and internal systems that will accept LPCs as Medicare providers. During this time, the American Counseling Association and our partners will work with stakeholders, including ACA members, to ensure that the appropriate systems are in place to support the profession.

Lastly, THANK YOU for all your hard work! It has paid off. Because of your advocacy those needing mental health services in America will now have increased access to the more than 200,000 Licensed Professional Counselors. CONGRATULATIONS!

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