This past Friday, May 12, 2023, Florida state legislators passed State Bill 1580, an overly broad bill that allows payors and providers—doctors, nurses, pharmacies, hospitals, mental health providers, medical transport services, clinical lab personnel, nursing homes, and other licensed health care professionals and providers—to discriminate and deny coverage or care on the basis of any moral, religious or philosophical differences.
Laws like this one stand in direct conflict with the ACA Code of Ethics and previously issued statements, including our statement on transgender and nonbinary issues and concerns.
“All persons are equally entitled to safe mental health care. The passage of Florida State Bill 1580 impedes the ability of professional counselors in providing mental health care to the standard of our Code of Ethics, which aligns with national standards held by all leading behavioral health organizations," said ACA President Kimberly N. Frazier, PhD, LPC, LMFT, NCC. “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with others in the mental health community committed to providing care in a nondiscriminatory manner that recognizes the full humanity of those we serve.”
ACA is following this issue closely and will keep members informed about developments that could affect professional counselors practicing in Florida and elsewhere. We are in the process of developing other resources and information that can assist counselors in:
- Contacting and working with your district/state attorney and attorney general,
- Filing a lawsuit, and
- Connecting with organizations that lead in legal advocacy within the courts.
More information will be coming soon.