ACAeNews | Volume XII | Number 2

In this issue readers will find:

Medicare

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Federal Government Releases Mental Health and Addictive Disorder Coverage Regulations

A long sought advocacy goal of ACA and the rest of the behavioral health advocacy community was realized this week with the federal government's release of regulations requiring parity of health insurance coverage for mental health and addictive disorder services. No longer will health insurance companies be allowed to use separate and unequal treatment limits and cost-sharing requirements to restrict use of mental health and, for the first time, addictive disorder services. The regulations implement the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), and were released jointly by the Departments of Labor, of Health and Human Services, and of the Treasury on Friday, January 29th. The regulations were issued as an 'interim final rule,' meaning that minor modifications may be made following the comment period, which ends May 3rd. The regulations are posted online at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-2167.pdf.

The regulations will apply to health plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010. The regulations do not contain any provisions regarding individual types of practitioners, but focus instead on the broader issue of how health plans devise their benefits packages. Under the regulations, private group insurance plans covering 50 or more people will no longer be able to use treatment limitations or financial requirements for mental and addictive disorder care that are not also used for substantially all other covered services.

The regulations prohibit the use of both quantitative and non-quantitative types of treatment limitations on treatments. Thus, health plans will be prohibited from using both arbitrary numerical visit limits, and different preauthorization or utilization review procedures, for mental and addictive disorder services. The regulations apply the parity requirements to all of six separate components of a health plan: inpatient in-network care, outpatient in-network care, inpatient out-of-network care, outpatient out-of-network care, emergency care, and prescription drug coverage. The regulations also require health plans to use a single, combined annual deductible for all medical/surgical, mental health, and substance abuse care.

Counselors are encouraged to comment on the regulations both to suggest improvements or clarifications and to express support by visiting the http://www.regulations.gov and entering "MHPAEA" in the search box asking for "Keyword or ID." For additional information, contact Scott Barstow with ACA's public policy office at 800-347-6647 x234, email: sbarstow@counseling.org.

Counselor Medicare Coverage, And Health Care Reform, Close To Finish Line

With both the House and the Senate having passed comprehensive reform bills, our nation has never been closer to establishing a framework for a health care system to provide near-universal coverage. At the same time, the counseling profession has never been closer to achieving independent reimbursement under Medicare, the nation's single largest health insurance program. Both of these goals have been long-standing priorities for the American Counseling Association.

The House-passed health care bill (H.R. 3962) includes Medicare coverage of counselors. Although the bill passed in December by the Senate (H.R. 3590) does not include Medicare coverage for counselors, it is our understanding that Senate offices are increasingly receptive to our provision. The health reform legislation is our best chance for making this happen.

We need House and Senate members to finish the job. We encourage counselors to call their Representative and Senators to ask them to vote for comprehensive health insurance reform, to enact such legislation this year, and to include Medicare coverage of counselors in the legislation. However, we know that that some counselors do not support health insurance reform legislation. If you are one of these counselors, we encourage you to contact your members of Congress and especially your Senators to ask them to work to establish Medicare coverage of licensed professional counselors under health care or other legislation enacted this year. For more information or to share your concerns or questions regarding the legislation, contact Scott Barstow with ACA's public policy staff at 800-347-6647 x234, email: sbarstow@counseling.org.

Want to Present at 2011 ACA Conference in New Orleans?

Yes-it's time to start thinking about the 2011 ACA Conference & Exposition in New Orleans, March 23-27. Begin developing your ideas for Education Sessions and Learning Institutes and contact any co-presenters.

Remember these dates: proposal submission site goes live March 29, 2010. Proposals are due June 2, 2010, 5pm ET.

Teen Drinking May Cause Brain Damage

Teen Drinking May Cause Brain DamageTeen drinking may have consequences beyond those typically associated with the behavior. A recent study shows adolescent drinking can cause irreversible brain damage. Published in the journal, Psychology of Addictive Behavior, and aired on National Public Radio, the report found damaged nerve tissue in the brains of teens that drank. Researchers believe the damage translated to teens' test results, which showed shortened attention spans in boys, difficulty comprehending and interpreting visual information among girls, and memory damage in both genders.

Details...

In the News: Balancing Work and Finances Drives College Dropout Decisions

A national survey conducted by the Public Agenda and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and reported in the The Washington Post has found that college dropouts are likelier to attribute their departure to the need to balance work and finances than the cost of college. Students pointed to flexible scheduling and financial aid for part-time students as factors that might have kept them in the college classroom.

Details...

New ACA Book Offers Nuts and Bolts of Clinical Supervision

Clinical Supervision in the Helping Professions: A Practical Guide, Second Edition
by Gerald Corey, Robert Haynes, Patrice Moulton, and Michelle Muratori

Clinical Supervision in the Helping ProfessionsThis straightforward guide for new and practicing supervisors emphasizes the attainment of skills necessary to effectively supervise others in a variety of settings. Topics covered include the roles and responsibilities of supervisors, the supervisory relationship, models and methods of supervision, becoming a multiculturally competent supervisor, ethical and legal issues in supervision, managing crisis situations, and evaluation in supervision. User-friendly tips, case examples, sample forms, questions for reflection, and group activities are included throughout the text, as are contributing supervisors' Voices From the Field and the Authors' Personal Perspectives-making this an interactive learning tool that is sure to keep readers interested and involved.

2010 | 304 pgs
Order #72898
ISBN 978-1-55620-303-9
List Price: $62.95 ACA Member Price: $43.95

Purchase online... or call 800-347-6647, ext 222 (M-F 8am - 7pm ET).

ACA Represents Counseling at Special NIMH Meeting

On January 22, ACA represented the counseling profession at a special National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) small group discussion. Called for by the NIMH Director, Dr. Thomas Insel, the focus of the meeting was on innovative ways for NIMH to disseminate information on mental illness. In his introduction, Dr. Insel stressed that he was aware that NIMH needs to improve the quality of communications with both mental health professionals and the public. ACA provided feedback to NIMH on the type of information that is most useful to our members and their clients and possible ways that NIMH might develop and disseminate this information. ACA stressed the need to focus on wellness, psychosocial aspects of mental illness, and multicultural applications.

A follow-up is anticipated, so please e-mail any thoughts you have about NIMH and how it can better help professional counselors and those we serve to David Kaplan, ACA Chief Professional Officer, at dkaplan@counseling.org. Your ideas will be brought to the next meeting.

Conference Clipping: Pittsburgh Consults are "Value Added" Member Service

2010 ACA ConferenceFree consults are available to you in Pittsburgh if you are registered for the conference.

Go to: http://www.counseling.org/sub/career/consultations.aspx and schedule yourself for:

  • Employers/Universities-if you have an opening and want to conduct live interviews at the conference
  • Job Seekers/Candidates-if you want to be interviewed during the conference
  • Career consults: job search strategies, mock interviews, resume critiques
  • Ethics consult-with an Ethics professional
  • Private Practice consult- with our Private Practice Consultants

All consults will take place in the Exhibition Hall at the Career Center Saturday and Sunday 10:30-6pm.

Questions? Write to confconsults@counseling.org.

On the Lighter Side: Treating Cows Like Individuals Increases Milk Production

Treating Cows Like Individuals Increases Milk ProductionThe average amount of milk produced by a cow over its annual 10-month lactation period is 13,198 pints. Cows with names like Ermintrude and Daisy produced an average of 454 more pints. Cows, according to their owner-farmers, are intelligent beings capable of exhibiting a range of emotions. And they apparently enjoyed being on a first-name basis with their owners.

Telegraph story...

Sign of the Times: Men Hurt More by the Recession?

The Economix Blog of the New York Times reported in January that the recession has disproportionately hurt men who tend to work in cyclically sensitive industries and occupations, including manufacturing and construction. Women, who tend to be overrepresented in recession proof sectors like health care and education, have not felt a corresponding job loss.

Details...

Learning Institutes Offer In-depth Professional Development Experience

The 39 Pre-Conference Learning Institutes (LIs) that will be offered at the Pittsburgh conference on March 18-19 provide an opportunity to focus on a special topic with expert trainers and presenters. The programs reflect an array of client concerns, issues, and needs. Following are just five programs from that list:

  • Challenging Discrimination Against LGBTQ Youth in Schools (Pamela Lassiter, Amy Sifford, and Effie McCauley)
  • Counseling Athletes Across the Lifespan (Taunya Marie Tinsley, Albert Petitas, and Jim Presbrey)
  • Counseling Students to Get Ready for College (Vivian V. Lee)
  • Developmental Advocacy for Counselors and Educators (Shannon D. Smith and Kok-Mun Ng)
  • Positive Approaches to Sexual Offender Treatment (Robert Scholz and Charles Flinton)

Come a day or two early and expand your professional development. There is a separate registration fee for LIs: $90--$155 if you register by February 15.

Learning Institute Information and Registration...

ACAeNews Times Four: Subscribe Special Focus Editions

ACA now publishes four special focus editions of ACAeNews in addition to 24 issues of the "regular" ACAeNews. Each special focus edition is published three times per year and is written for members in specific settings and situations. The four special focus editions, which are free to ACA members, are:

  • ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors
  • ACAeNews for School Counselors
  • ACAeNews for Counselor Educators
  • ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals

Members can access any or all editions on an opt-in basis. Click here for instructions.

Calendar: Conference Activity Includes ASGW, NC, KS, NJ, ME, MO, CO, and SD Events

February 17-19, 2010
North Carolina Counseling Association
Embassy Suites
Concord, NC
Information...

February 18-21, 2010
The Art and Science of Group Work
Association for Specialists in Group Work
Doubletree Hotel
New Orleans, LA
Information...

March 11-12, 2010
Kansas Counseling Association
Doubletree Hotel
Overland Park, KS
Information...

April 9-11, 2010
New Jersey Counseling Association
Donald D. Warner Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College
Lincroft, NJ
Information...

April 12-13, 2010
Maine Counseling Association
Samoset Resort
Rockport, ME
Information...

April 15-17, 2010
American Counseling Association of Missouri
Capital Plaza Hotel
Jefferson City, MO
Information...

April 22-24, 2010
South Dakota Counseling Association
Aberdeen Ramkota Hotel
Aberdeen, SD
Information...

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 dbrown@counseling.org. 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.

ABOUT ACAeNews

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 web site 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 fburtnett@counseling.org. All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness, and relevance to the readership and may be edited.

Lynn E. Linde, President
llinde@loyola.edu

Richard Yep, CAE, Executive Director
ryep@counseling.org

Debra Bass, Director of Marketing and Communications
dbass@counseling.org

Frank Burtnett, NCC, NCCC, ACAeNews Editor
fburtnett@counseling.org

Don Kenneally, Internet Development / Production
dkenneally@counseling.org

ACA Website: www.counseling.org

Copyright 2010, American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703-823-9800. Email: fburtnett@counseling.org. 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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