Newsletter Article | Mar 10, 2014

More details on Tricare

Here is some more detailed information about current Tricare regulations and Clinical Mental Health Counselors…

*After December 31, 2014, the Department of Defense will no longer recognize those mental health counselors who do not meet the criteria for a Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CMHCs) and will no longer allow them to provide services even upon the referral and supervision of a physician.

However, if CMHCs wish to provide services PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 2015 COUNSELORS MUST:

(i)      Possess a master’s or higher-level degree from a mental health counseling program of education and training accredited by CACREP and must have passed the National Counselor Examination (NCE); or

(ii)    Possess a  master’s or higher-level degree from a mental health counseling program of education and training from either a CACREP or regionally accredited institution and have passed the NCMHCE; and

(iii)   Must have a minimum of two (2) years of post-master’s degree supervised mental health counseling practice which includes a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. (This supervision must be provided by a mental health counselor who is licensed for independent practice in mental health counseling in the jurisdiction where practicing and must be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the guidelines for supervision of the American Mental Health Counselors Association Supervised mental health counselor).

 

A CMHC may only be reimbursed by Tricare when:

(i)                  The TRICARE beneficiary is referred for therapy by a physician; and

(ii)                A physician is providing ongoing oversight and supervision of the therapy being provided; and

(iii)               The mental health counselor certifies on each claim for reimbursement that a written communication has been made or will be made to the referring physician of the results of the treatment. Such communication will be made at the end of the treatment, or more frequently, as required by the referring physician and the date of services provided is on or before December 31, 2014.

 

AFTER JANUARY 1, 2015:

TRICARE will adopt new quality standards for the independent practices of mental health counselors as of January 1, 2015, and in addition will recognize mental health counselors who have met certain quality standards as independent providers on or before December 31, 2014.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations specify that independent practice of mental health counselors (MHCs) in TRICARE should occur under certain circumstances:

(i)      Possess a master’s or higher-level degree from a mental health counseling program of education  and training accredited by CACREP and must have passed the National Counselor Examination (NCE).

or

(ii)    Possess a master’s or higher-level degree from a mental health counseling program of education                          and training from either a CACREP or regionally accredited institution and have passed the NCMHCE.

The new rule will implement these standards over time while preserving the requirement for 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. TRICARE is committed to ensuring that the quality standards recommended by the IOM are adopted by TRICARE, but understands that the availability of CACREP accredited mental health counseling training programs and the use of the NCMHCE as a quality standard are not yet widespread in the field.”- Federal Registry Vol. 76, No. 248

For the purposes of CHAMPUS, a certified mental health   counselor (CMHC) must be licensed for independent practice in mental health counseling by the jurisdiction where practicing. In jurisdictions with two or more licenses allowing for differing scopes of independent practice, the licensed mental health counselor may only practice within the scope of the license he or she possesses.

For further information contact:

Dr. Patricia Moseley, TRICARE Management Activity, Office of the Chief Medical Officer

703- 681-0064

Contact Name

Art Terrazas

Contact Title

Director, Government Affairs

Contact Email

aterrazas@counseling.org

Contact Phone

(703) 823-9800

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