Give an Hour Recruits Mental Health Professionals

Give an Hour, founded in 2005, has created a network of volunteer mental health professionals pledging an hour a week of their services, free of charge, to members of the military—including active duty, reserve, and guard—veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, their families, and their communities. Give an Hour offers an important option for the men, women and families who serve our country by providing services in the community at no cost to those in need.  And, there is no limit to the number of sessions one can receive; help is available for as long as it is needed. 

Give an Hour’s current focus is on supplementing the mental health services provided by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs and includes specific initiatives to reach rural veterans (telehealth) and the Army National Guard. Other programs include community Collaboratives, Got Your 6 Student Education Initiative (“Training the Next Generation of Mental Health Professionals”), Wins for Warriors, and Wounded Warrior Project.

Give an Hour’s services expand beyond those groups who are typically eligible to receive mental health benefits, including parents, siblings, and unmarried partners who are often affected by a loved one’s wartime service. 

Give an Hour’s mental health professionals provide services including one-on-one counseling, consultation with other organizations about the mental health issues affecting those who serve, presentations at community gatherings and reintegration events, and trainings in local communities.  Providers choose how they “give their hour” in a way that fits their passion.  We ask our providers to participate in our network for one year in order to provide continuity of care for these deserving families.

The approximately 7,000 licensed mental health professionals working with Give an Hour have contributed nearly 140,000 hours in support of our troops and their families, and the demand continues as we drawdown from current conflicts. 

Volunteer mental health providers include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, pastoral counselors, and other mental health professionals.  Additional opportunities are available for students in mental health programs.

While no additional training is required, Give an Hour also offers a variety of free training opportunities and gives providers the opportunity to interact with one another, to share information about their experience, and to seek feedback and additional resources.

Immediate Help Needed in Washington

There is a shortage of mental health professionals available to provide critical services in Washington.  We are asking all mental health professionals to join in this effort. If you are currently licensed, please visit our website www.giveanhour.org to sign up for our national network and to learn more about our organization and initiatives.

SB 5340 Grace period bill

Subject: Grace period bill / SB 5340

Hi all,

Hope this finds everyone well. Wanted to draw your attention to this year’s grace period bill – SB 5340, again by Sen. Rivers – which will appear on tonight’s Senate intro sheet. I know I’ve discussed the bill with most of you, but the two main components are laid out below. And attached is our one-pager on the bill. I’ll let you all know when a hearing is scheduled.

· 2015 grace period legislation – Medicaid look-back and QHP criteria

o Builds off of the grace period legislation adopted in 2014 in two ways:

§ Medicaid retroactive coverage or “look-back”

· To date, over 8,600 Exchange enrollees have had their coverage terminated due to non-payment of premiums.

o We can assume that at least a portion of that population stopped making payments due to a “qualifying event” that may make them eligible for Medicaid (i.e. divorce, job loss).

· When an individual enrolls in Medicaid, he or she is asked if they have outstanding medical bills.

o If the individual indicates that they do, Medicaid grants them a three month retroactive coverage or “look-back” period.

o This allows the individual to work with Medicaid to reconcile claims incurred over the last three months by having providers re-bill them through Medicaid.

· SB 5340 requires the Exchange to conduct specific outreach to enrollees with the goal of making sure they are aware that they may be eligible for Medicaid (or an increased subsidy level in the Exchange).

o By maximizing utilization of the existing Medicaid look-back policy, we can ensure that for those patients who are Medicaid-eligible:

1. Physicians will receive reimbursement (albeit at Medicaid rates – rather than Exchange); and

2. Patients will be protected from being billed directly for claims incurred during the grace period.

· *We are aware that due to the fact that the Exchange will not be aggregating premiums, this requirement may more appropriately be made of QHPs in the future. We received mixed messages on that question, so elected to keep it a requirement of the Exchange for the time being.

§ QHP selection criteria

· Physicians have a moral, legal and ethical obligation to provide treatment to patients in Exchange grace periods. Insurance carriers are currently allowed to abdicate on their responsibility to provide reimbursement for those services provided in the last 60 days of the grace period, despite the fact that the patient has insurance coverage during that time.

· The federal rules surrounding the grace period set a floor for the standards of this consumer protection provision. Washington state can – and should – strengthen the provision by ensuring carriers are required to honor the duration of their contract with a patient – including the full 90-day grace period.

· SB 5340 requires that for a health plan to be offered inside the Exchange, it would have to provide reimbursement for all claims incurred throughout the duration of the contract with a patient.

Thanks and please feel free to let me know if you have questions, or if there is additional information I can provide.

Sean Graham
Associate Director of Policy and Political Affairs
Washington State Medical Association (WSMA)
Email: [email protected]
Cell: (360) 259-4184

NOTICE: The Washington State Medical Association provides this information with the express understanding that 1) no attorney-client relationship exists, 2) neither WSMA nor its attorneys are engaged in providing legal advice, and 3) the information is of a general character. You should not rely on this information when dealing with personal legal matters; rather, seek legal advice from retained legal counsel. Furthermore, this e-mail and any attachments are confidential and may be protected by legal privilege. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of this e-mail or any attachment is prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify us immediately by returning it to the sender and delete this copy from your system. Thank you for your cooperation.

Two-year Barrier Eliminated

January 9, 2015

Dear WMHCA Members:

As I mentioned in the MHP update in December, the leadership of WMHCA, in conjunction with the
leadership of the Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (WAMFT) and the
Washington Community Mental Health Council (WCMHC), has been working diligently over the last year
to address the disparity in hiring related to the Mental Health Professional (MHP) designation.

We have just learned that licensed associates (either LMHCAs or LMFTAs) are now to be included in the
proposed language change. In essence, this means that the two-year barrier has been eliminated! All
graduates of mental health programs are eligible for an associate license, and, now, all graduates who
elect to become licensure associates following their graduation will automatically be considered MHPs
once the associate license is granted. This compromise significantly levels the playing field for new
professionals, whether they are graduates from social work programs, marriage and family programs, or
mental health counseling programs.

The Washington Mental Health Counselor’s Association works to promote quality mental health
counseling services, maintain a viable and distinct professional identity, and influence public policy
consistent with our professional ethics and values. This victory is a great example of the importance of
state-level participation in your professional community!

Mental health rule takes effect Dec. 18, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. – New enhanced standards and tools for measuring parity between mental health and medical and surgical benefits takes effect Dec. 18, 2014.

“Washington state has been a leader in ensuring mental health coverage for consumers,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “This new rule gives us one more set of tools to make sure insurers are living up to their promises and that people are getting fair access to the mental health services they need.”

The rule aligns state and federal mental health parity laws and creates clear standards or formulas for health insurers to show the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) how they are delivering mental health services and substance use disorder treatments compared to medical and surgical benefits.

It also gives the OIC better tools to measure if health insurers are delivering these services fairly and correctly.

Now, health insurers must demonstrate the parity of their coverage between mental health and substance use disorders and medical and surgical benefits for each of six categories of services:

  • Inpatient, in-network
  • Inpatient, out-of-network
  • Outpatient, in-network
  • Outpatient, out-of-network
  • Emergency care
  • Prescription drugs

For example, if a health plan classifies a residential skilled nursing facility as inpatient medical care, it also must classify a mental health residential treatment facility as inpatient care.

The regulation addresses how insurers must evaluate differences in co-pays/deductibles and treatment limitations between mental health services and medical and surgical benefits. It also requires insurers to give consumers the actual reason for denying a benefit, as well as access to their claim documents and records upon request and free of charge.

“If you believe you’ve been unfairly denied insurance coverage for mental health services, contact my insurance consumer hotline at 800-562-6900 or file a complaint,” added Kreidler.

MHP Update December 2014

The MHP designation is used in Washington within the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) to indicate a person who is qualified to assess and diagnose a mental health condition. Since passage of this particular WAC, certain professional groups, namely mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, have been at a disadvantage because of the way this particular definition was written. As it reads now, the definition of an MHP is “(1) a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, or social worker as defined in chapters 71,05 and 71,34 RCW; (2) a person with a master’s degree or further advanced degree in counseling or on of the social sciences from an accredited college or university. Such person shall have, in addition, at least two years of experience in direct treatment of persons with mental illness or emotional disturbance, such experience gained under the supervision of a mental health professional…”. Based on this definition, graduates from clinical mental health counseling master’s programs and marriage and family therapy programs are not necessarily “qualified” upon graduation to perform these tasks, despite the fact that these graduates have received training to do so.

On December 11, 2014, a group of representatives from the WMHCA and the WAMFT met with Mr. Dennis Malmer from DBHR to discuss rule-making action related to the MHP designation in Washington State. During this call, representatives discussed the updated language proposed by Assistant Secretary Beyer, which includes an additional line in the definition of MHP: “a person who is licensed by the Department of Health as a mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist”. Representatives commented that this language is a “step in the right direction” but does not adequately address the disparity that still exists between the sister professions of social work, mental health counseling, and marriage and family therapy.

Representatives suggested that this language more clearly identify those who are licensed, and suggested that the language include individuals who are licensed with the Department of Health as “Associates”, as that designation implies the candidate will be working under supervision. The proposed revision to this new definition could read: “a person who is licensed by the Department of health as a mental health counselor or a mental health counselor associate, a marriage and family therapist or a marriage and family therapist associate, a licensed clinical social worker or a licensed clinical social worker association, a licensed advanced social worker or a licensed advanced social worker associate”.

Mr. Malmer, who is responsible for rulemaking with the DBHR, supported the idea of clarifying this language to include individuals licensed at the “associate” level. The rationale behind this lies first in the fact that “associates” are, by definition, working under supervision. Secondly, according to Dr. Richard Stride, current president of WMHCA and CEO of Cascade Mental Health, DBHR agencies are already contractually obligated to provide supervision. Dr. Stride suggested letting the mental health centers decide who is “ready” to perform these duties, based on their existing processes for supervising employees and licensure candidates.

Mr. Malmer from DBHR will be reporting back to Secretary Beyer regarding the need to further clarify the language in the proposed revision to the MHP definition. He will then proceed with the rule-making process, with hopes of resolving this issue by mid-2015.

Chemical Dependency Certification Advisory Committee Meeting Notice

December 5, 2014 at 9 a.m.

(Directions are attached)

Department of Health

111 Israel Road S.E., Room 158

Tumwater, Washington 98501

 

Committee Members:

Bridgette Agpaoa Ryder, LMHC, CDP, Chair

Mark Loes, MBA, CDP, Vice Chair

Kathleen Armstrong, MEd, LMHC, MHP

Ryan Calsyn, Public Member

Brandy Branch, LMHC, CDP

Patricia France, CDP, LICSW

Judy Holman, LICSW, LMHC, CDP, DSHS-DBHR Representative

Mary Schatz, Ph.C, CDP, CRC, LMHCA

 

Assistant Attorney General Representative:

Chris Wright

 

Contact: Betty J. Moe, Program Manager                             Sonia Ferguson, Program Support

360-236-4912 phone                                               360-236-2928 phone

360-236-2901 fax                                                    360-236-2901 fax

[email protected]                                         [email protected]

 

You can join the meeting via phone. Teleconference information:

Call-in number: 1-877-351-4402 (toll free)

Meeting number: 3476771

 

The Department of Health offices are fragrance-free. Please refrain from applying, perfume, hair spray, cologne, or aftershave prior to your visit. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Times and Order: The meeting will start at 9 a.m. on December 5, 2014 and will continue until all agenda items are complete. This agenda is subject to change. Comments from the public in attendance will be taken after each agenda item.

Accessibility: This meeting is accessible to people with disabilities. Special aids and services can be made available upon advance request. Advance request for special aids and services must be made no later than December 1, 2014. If you wish to receive general information about this meeting, please call the program at 360-236-4912.

If you need assistance with special needs and services, you may leave a message with your request at 1-800-525-0127, or if calling from outside Washington State call 360-236-4052. Please call 711 or 1-800-833-6388 to reach the Washington State Relay Service for deaf callers. If you need assistance because of a speech disability, Speech-to-Speech provides human voice for people with difficulty being understood. The Washington State Speech-to-Speech toll-free access number is 1-877-833-6341.

Smoking is not allowed at this meeting.

 

Open Session –

  1. Call to order – Bridgette Agpaoa Ryder, LMHC, CDP, Chair 9 a.m.
  • Staffing updates.

1.3       Approval of meeting agenda.

1.4       Approval of the September 26, 2014 meeting minutes.

  1. ELECTION OF 2015 COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP – Bridgette Agpaoa Ryder, LMHC, CDP, Chair

The committee will select the 2015 chair and vice chair.

  1. RULES WORKSHOP – Betty Moe, Program Manager

The committee members will discuss draft language regarding chapter 246-811 WAC (chemical dependency professionals and chemical dependency professional trainees). Adding a new WAC 246-811 (alternative training); amending WAC 246-811-048 (supervision requirements), and amending WAC 246-811-049 (approved supervisor requirements).

The secretary is considering developing standards and procedure for alternative training programs for certification.

The committee will review and address any written comments.

 

 

  1. MANAGER reports –Betty Moe, Program Manager

4.1       Program manager update.

4.2       Licensing statistics.

4.3       Current budget.

4.4       Recruitment update.

4.5       2015 meeting dates.

4.6       Meet me call representative.

  1. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL (AAG) REPORT – Chris Wright, AAG
  • Wright will report on any items relevant to the committee.
  1. public comment – Bridgette Agpaoa Ryder, LMHC, CDP, Chair

The committee will hear comments from the public. The public may request items to be placed on a future meeting agenda.

  1. CONSENT AGENDA – Bridgette Agpaoa Ryder, LMHC, CDP, Chair

The items listed under the consent agenda (informational items) are considered routine matters and will be approved by a single motion of the committee without separate discussion. If separate discussion is desired, that item will be removed from the consent agenda and placed on the regular business agenda for discussion.

Current issue of The Sentinel news for department employees.

 

  1. future agenda items – Bridgette Agpaoa Ryder, LMHC, CDP, Chair
  1. Adjournment – Bridgette Agpaoa Ryder, LMHC, CDP, Chair

 

Directions

If you are traveling south on I-5 (from Seattle or Tacoma):

  1. Take I-5 south to exit 101(Not Highway 101 – Ocean Beaches)
  2. Turn left at the stop light onto Tumwater Boulevard (previously Airdustrial Way).
  3. At roundabout, take second exit.
  4. Go to the next traffic light and turn left onto Capital Boulevard.
  5. Move to right lane, turn right on Israel Road
  6. Town Center is on your right.

 

If you are traveling north on I-5 (from Portland or Centralia):

  1. Take I-5 north to exit 101. (Stay in right hand lane)
  2. Turn right at the stop sign, onto Tumwater Boulevard (previously Airdustrial Way).
  3. At the roundabout, take the second exit.
  4. Go to the next traffic light and turn left onto Capital Boulevard.
  5. Move to right lane, turn right on Israel Road
  6. Town Center is on your right.

The draft can be downloaded below..

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