We have some exciting news for counselors in Washington State!  The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has proposed rule making for the CDP chapter in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).  The DOH has written draft language to establish standards and procedures for alternative training programs so that licensed professionals (including LMHCs) whose scope of practice includes treatment of chemical dependency can obtain CDP certification via an expedited training process.  The major change in the proposed legislation can be found in the new section WAC 246-811-077: Educational requirements to apply for chemical dependency certification with alternative training.  Instead of requiring all CDPs to complete 30 semester/45 quarter credit hours at the associates-level, licensed professionals described in WAC 246-811-076 (including LMHCs) only require 10 semester/15 quarter credits in chemical dependency training, with course work that addresses specific topic areas described in WAC 246-811-077.  This would assist LMHCs to obtain the CDP credential, hopefully resulting in more counselors specializing in the treatment of co-occurring disorders.  Currently, mental health and substance abuse services are somewhat disconnected, and important Federal legislation such as the Affordable Care Act is mandating more integration of services.  Thus, the DOH draft legislation is believe to help connect mental health and substance use services.

If you are in support of this legislation, WMHCA encourages you to make a public comment in support of the legislation.  The comment period for the proposed rule will be open until the day of the public hearing. The public hearing on the proposed rule will be held at 9:30 a.m., April 28, 2016, at the Department of Health, Town Center 2, room 158 in Tumwater, WA 98501. The public is invited to review and provide comments on the proposed rule on the Department’s Rules Comment webpage at https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/policyreview/

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the WMHCA President, Thom Field, at tfield@cityu.edu.