Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
Department of Health Professions
 
Board
Board of Counseling
 
chapter
Regulations Governing the Practice of Professional Counseling [18 VAC 115 ‑ 20]
Action Requirement for CACREP accreditation for educational programs
Stage NOIRA
Comment Period Ends 7/1/2015
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6/19/15  12:50 pm
Commenter: UB

OPPOSE
 

Dear Senator or Congressman:

 

I am writing to ask for your support for the inclusion of an amendment to H.R. 1735, the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act that would direct TRICARE to expand the pool of qualified individuals who serve the mental health needs of veterans and their families, in the final bill that is now in conference.  The Senate bill does not include this language.

Recently TRICARE took steps to limit the independent provision of counseling services to veterans and their families to Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) who earned their graduate degrees in “mental health counseling” or “clinical mental health counseling” from academic programs accredited by CACREP.  In the state of Maryland , only one (1) LPC program is accredited by CACREP.  There are fifteen (15) programs in regionally-accredited institutions that do not have specific program accreditation. I am currently a student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Baltimore.  I am strongly interested in working with veteran and military populations in the future.  However, since my master’s degree will be in Counseling Psychology, which CACREP does not serve, it is impossible for my program to earn CACREP accreditation even if they chose to do so.  The result of the CACREP restriction on TRICARE participation is that thousands of highly trained counselors who currently serve veterans and their families will be excluded from independent practice in TRICARE.  At a time when veteran’s and their families are need of counseling and critical shortages have been identified, it is illogical to allow these restrictions to move forward when they restrict services from highly trained and experienced licensed professionals.


The Special Rule adopted in H.R. 1735 would allow qualified mental health counselors who hold masters or doctoral degrees in counseling from either CACREP or regionally accredited programs to participate fully in TRICARE, and to continue providing services to veterans and their families through 2027.  The American Counseling Association, which represents over 55,000 counselors in the U.S., has recently announced its support of the House version of the NDAA.

 

Please do everything you can to support all veterans who need and want mental health services and the qualified counselors who are dedicated to provide this critical assistance.

 

Sincerely,

 

Carol Abraham, MS

CommentID: 40300