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Congress Directs Department of Defense to Issue TRICARE Independent Practice Regulations
As one of its last acts before leaving town at the end of December, the 111th Congress (not to be confused with the 112th Congress which just took office) approved legislation authorizing defense spending for the rest of the fiscal year. The legislation, which was signed into law by the president on January 7, includes language directing the Department of Defense (DoD) to adopt regulations by June 20, 2011 to authorize counselors to practice independently under TRICARE.
TRICARE is the health services program operated by the DoD for military personnel, retirees, and their dependents. For many years, counselors have been the only master's level mental health professionals required by TRICARE to operate under physician referral and supervision. The TRICARE reimbursement policy issue is under the jurisdiction of DoD, and is separate and distinct from the issue of recognition of licensed professional counselors within healthcare programs operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The language enacted on TRICARE is a significant accomplishment for the counseling profession, and the culmination of many years of hard work by ACA, the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The language enacted is a significant improvement over earlier versions of the legislation. Earlier Senate defense bill language on this issue had included an array of specific criteria counselors would have to meet in order to practice independently under TRICARE. ACA, NBCC, and AMHCA successfully convinced Congress to leave specific criteria out of the law in order to avoid tying DoD's hands, and to allow greater flexibility in counselor participation in the future.
ACA, AMHCA, and NBCC will be trying to work with DoD to ensure the regulations are inclusive of all qualified professional counselors.
For more information, contact Scott Barstow at email@example.com.
2010 Census: What Does It Mean for Counseling?
The decennial census for 2010, a people-counting task that dates back to 1790, has been completed by the U.S. Census Bureau. What do these population changes during the first decade of the millennium mean for counseling and counselors? An analysis of early U.S. Census data by the Brookings Institution, offers some statistics and trends of interest to counselors and counseling programs, including:
All of these shifts will have ramifications for programs and services such as counseling that are people oriented. Another effect is that representation in Congressional districts will be redrawn based on the new numbers. The report cautioned that while the census is the "only true national benchmark for determining the size and distribution of our population," its results must be considered in light of the "severe recession and unprecedented migration slowdown" in which it was taken.
ACA Elections: Vote by January 31
ACA members have until January 31, 2011 to cast their vote for the men and women who will lead the association. Using the Internet for the first time this year allows ACA to be more environmentally responsible while offering members an easy and secure method to place their important vote.
After reviewing the candidate profiles and statements in the December issue of Counseling Today or via the website at www.counseling.org/candidates, log on to the ACA election site at
Voting questions should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Membership Services at 800-347-6647, ext.222.
Make Schools Better But Don't Send Me the Bill, Survey Shows
The Associated Press and Stanford University have reported the results of a fall 2010 survey of American attitudes regarding education and its effect on the economic health of the nation. The good news: A significant number of Americans (88%) support the view that education is critical to economic recovery and stability. The bad news: just under half (47%) would like to see their taxes raised to improve the quality of schools.
Survey respondents offered consistent views across gender, age, race, and income/education levels on the importance of education and its influence on the economy. They were, however, critical of students and parents for not making the most of the educational experiences available to them, a factor that needs to be corrected before they would be willing to invest additional monies in school improvement.
Conference Clipping: Pre-Conference LIs Still Open!
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On the Lighter Side: Words and Expressions No Longer Needed
Every New Year's Eve since 1976, the public affairs staff at Lake Superior State University (MI) has released its "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use, and General Uselessness." Selected from more than 1,000 nominations, the 2011 list makers come from the worlds of politics, communication, and every imaginable place in popular culture. Some are made up, while others are used in a distorted or never-intended fashion.
Achieving "banished" status this year are the following 14 words and expressions. Justification for their banishment can be found at the LSSU website.
Relevant Research: Marijuana Up, Smoking and Alcohol Down with Teens
The use of marijuana increased last year while cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption decreased slightly among high school seniors, a new survey reports. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Monitoring the Future Survey for 2010 found that 21% of seniors say they have smoked marijuana in the past 30 days. About 19% say they smoked cigarettes. The data reflect the first time use of marijuana has surpassed that of cigarettes. But the level of alcohol use among high school seniors hit its lowest level since 1975 and those reporting binge drinking—consuming five or more drinks in a row—dipped to its lowest level in more than a decade.
AADA Research Grants Being Accepted Until March 1
The Association for Adult Development and Aging (AADA), an ACA Division, is calling for proposals for studies that increase an understanding of issues pertaining to adult development and aging. Preference will be given to research that focuses on normative adult developmental phases, stages, and transitions; wellness and positive aging; and/or diversity in adulthood. AADA encourages research that focuses on the underserved and marginalized, including but not limited to matters addressing gender, race, or sexual orientation.
The AADA will make two $500 grants to support deserving research. The funds are available to both professional and student members of AADA. Individuals may submit (or be part of a submission team) for only one proposal.
Proposals will be considered if received by March 1, 2011 and grantees will be notified by March 15, 2011. For additional information, contact Radha Parker at email@example.com or Wendy Killam at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reliable Resource: 2011-12 FAFSA and Improved Website Now Available
Any student or family in need of financial assistance for the college experience knows that all paths to grants, scholarships, and other forms of aid begin with the filing of the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA). The 2011-12 FAFSA is now available and all financial aid applicants are urged to download, complete, and submit the form as soon as possible.
Often criticized for being confusing and difficult to complete, the U.S. Department of Education has gone to great lengths this year to streamline the experience, changes that are the subject of a recent Christian Science Monitor story, including "tips" for completion.
Ideal New Year's Resolution: Earn ACA's Free CE of the Month
Keeping up with the continuing education requirements associated with one's license or certification is something that often brings out the procrastinator in many of us. Let ACA's CE of the Month serve as your reminder of this obligation and keep you on track.
How does it work? On the first of each month, ACA will send you the CE Connection email, which will allow you to see at-a-glance all of the CE credit options offered by ACA, including the Free CE of the Month. The CE Connection is sent automatically to all ACA members, regardless of member type, for whom we have an e-mail address. To be sure you receive this email, please make sure that your ACA member record includes a current email address. (To check, go to
Fast Facts: Births in U.S. Decline in Most Age Groups
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show a slowing of births in the U.S., a decline that is most significant because of where it is occurring. Statistics for 2009 found the following:
Calendar: Early CAM Planning and Conferences Scheduled in MD, ND, NC, and OK
Note: The April celebration of Counseling Awareness Month is fast approaching and now is the time to plan and design the programs and events your institution, organization, agency, or practice will conduct to call attention to professional counseling and the work of professional counselors. Make the 2011 observance of Counseling Awareness Month the best ever!
Branch: Maryland Association for Counseling & Development
Branch: North Dakota Counseling Association
Branch: North Carolina Counseling Association
Branch: Oklahoma Counseling Association
ACA divisions, branches, and regions are valuable sources of learning and professional development. Information on events will be posted approximately 8-10 weeks prior. This information is made available to ACAeNews via the ACA master calendar and the various organization web sites. Send calendar items to email@example.com. Please provide the sponsor, dates, site and contact person information. Information posted here is restricted to that sponsored by ACA divisions, branches, regions and related organizations.
ACAeNews is published 24 times annually by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members across the counseling profession. Any reference to a product, service, activity or listing of a website in ACAeNews does not imply endorsement by ACA. Any views and opinions are those of the sponsoring organization and may or may not be shared by ACA.
Direct comments, questions, and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness and relevance to the readership and may be edited to meet space parameters.
Marcheta P. Evans, Ph.D., President
Richard Yep, CAE, Executive Director
Debra Bass, Director of Marketing and Communications
Frank Burtnett, NCC, NCCC, ACAeNews Editor
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ACA Web site: www.counseling.org
Copyright 2011, American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703/823-9800. Email: email@example.com. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce anything contained in this newsletter as long as the American Counseling Association is identified as the original source of the information.
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