CounselorsEmpowerACA Government Affairs Blog

The ACA Government Affairs team strives to keep the counseling community connected with important legislative news, updates, and announcements that affect the profession. Questions? Want to get involved in our advocacy efforts? Email us at advocacy@counseling.org 


 

Apr 3, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATES FOR STATES

We understand that it has been a long couple of weeks as all of us shift gears in our professional and personal lives in order to address the COVID-19 crisis impacting the entire country. ACA’s Government Affairs and Public Policy team remain dedicated to our members throughout this crisis and beyond. In the past couple of weeks our team has worked around the clock (from home) to bring our members up-to-date information on COVID-19. Our primary concern remains ensuring the well-being of our members and advancing their professional interests state-by-state.

Our team has seen a flurry of questions and updates from states on concerns regarding practice during COVID-19. This outreach has included Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, among others. In the case of the Pennsylvania Counseling Association (PCA), members have successfully worked to encourage emergency rule making that is inclusive of telebehavioral health practice, including across state lines for purposes of college students or professionals returning home as schools and organizations temporarily close. PCA has been advocating for expanding telebehavioral health language for the past year keeping LPC reimbursements a public concern on the front burner of mental health policy. Texas Counseling Association (TCA) has been leading the way in their state by building out their mental health coalition and leveraging their collective voice through direct meetings and letters to the Governor. These efforts resulted in an Executive Order encompassing their membership needs on telebehavioral health practice during COVID-19. ACA of Iowa has successfully worked with their membership to encourage payment parity for telebehavioral health services across insurance providers. Wellmark's IA network will now receive the same fee for virtual & in-person visits.

We are aware that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what states are interested in and working on with their members to address COVID-19 in their communities. To better aid states in their continued efforts, our team has put together a resource package comprised of guidance, templates, updates, and necessary information. Please see the below resources for more:

  • TELEBEHAVIORAL HEALTH FOR STATES
    The American Counseling Association (ACA) is aware of the confusion our members have encountered regarding new emergency guidance to states on telebehavioral health policy. The information provided here will assist the counseling community in communicating with state leaders charged with navigating policy and procedure during a time of crisis or emergency. 
  • For further resources, please see our Template Letter to State Governors requesting telebehavioral health language in Executive Orders during COVID-19. This letter is a resource for states interested in outreach on telebehavioral health during COVID-19. 
  • Our COVID-19 State Resources is a compilation of state actions taken regarding telebehavioral health. Please click on the link provided for relevant information including telebehavioral health regulations, insurance commission data, Medicaid guidance, and additional updates. This guide is not exhaustive and will be updated periodically.

If the ACA Government Affairs and Public Policy team can help your members navigate COVID-19 through policy or advocacy support, please contact us at Advocacy@Counseling.Org.  We are happy to address any questions, concerns, or to provide additional support.

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