The Latest News from ACA

President Trump Signs S.785 Into Law

Oct 23, 2020
S.785, Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, amends a number of V.A. authorities related to helping veterans transition from military to civilian life; suicide prevention; mental health care research and oversight; health care for women and mental health care staffing.

On October 17, 2020, President Trump signed S.785, Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, into law. The legislation amends a number of V.A. authorities related to helping veterans transition from military to civilian life; suicide prevention; mental health care research and oversight; health care for women and mental health care staffing.

S.785 mandates the creation of a federal government classification for mental health counselors. The American Counseling Association (ACA) has contacted the V.A. to explore the implementation of the bill and they have established that occupational series are designed to classify a position and the employment title. Most importantly, it provides clear guidance on salary expectations. Currently, the V.A. has an occupational series for LPMHCs, and this bill would likely not include LPMHCs in a new series.

This legislation is the product of a bipartisan and bicameral effort to address gaps in policy and create additional resources to increase veteran’ access to behavioral health resources. The successful passage of S.785 would not have been possible without the leadership of Senator Jon Tester and the advocacy efforts of ACA members.

Interested in working with the V.A.? Please go to usajobs.gov for the latest job postings. As the V.A. implements key aspects of the legislation, we will keep you apprised of its effects on the counseling community.

Have questions? Please email the Government Affairs team at advocacy@counseling.org.

Want to support future efforts? Visit the ACA Action Center to become an advocate for the profession.

News by Year

Join/Renew NOW!