2013 Legislative Session Summary
The animosity that prevailed last session has continued this year in the Senate. Prior to the start of the legislative session, two Democratic senators chose to ‘caucus’ with the Republicans, in essence giving the Republicans a majority in the Senate and the right to chair committees. The rancor that ensued did not have much effect on the issues that affect mental health, except for the fact that there was so much conflict in the Senate that there wasn’t much time to consider the lack of parity implementation after our excellent hearing in September.
Here are the primary issues that affected mental health services, either through access to services or restrictions on how services are delivered.
1. HB 2366 – the Matt Adler Suicide Prevention Act – This bill was signed into law on March 29 and will require all licensed and certified mental health providers to receive six hours of continuing education in suicide assessment, management and treatment every six years. The requirement begins January 1, 2014. The Department of Health will be working with the UW Department of Nursing to approve programs that meet this requirement.
2. HB 1882 – Sexual Orientation Change Efforts – This bill is designed to create a work group that would review the literature and practice of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based on efforts to ‘change’ a child’s or adolescent’s sexual orientation, often based on religious ideas. The bill was heard in the House Human Services Appropriations Committee, where it was received favorably. It started late and may have to wait for next year to get funded ($147,000). Rep. Liias is determined to see this practice questioned and have potential damage noted to any parent who seeks to have a child or adolescent engage in such practices.
3. HB 1213 – Social Work Licensure Changes – This bill would expand the number of years that LSWAICs have to complete their experience and supervision hours from 4 years to 6 years. There has been difficulty finding jobs to allow LSWAICs to meet the hours needed. Additionally, LASWs will be allowed to have equal standing with LICSWs as a “top” tier of social work for administrative purposes only. This bill is on its way to the Governor for signature.
4. L & I Work Group – Licensed Master’s Clinicians – Washington is one of the few states that excludes licensed Master’s mental health clinicians from being providers of psychotherapy for disabled workers who are covered by Worker Compensation. This Work Group took place in the Senate Health Committee and is likely to lead to legislation next year.
Washington Mental Health Treatment Task Force
Since September 2011, 10 mental health organizations have worked together to develop mental health treatment standards for insurance benefits as mental health parity goes into effect nationally and in Washington. Five subcommittees were created to provide an alternative to the Milliman Guidelines.
The Task Force meets every other month and a General Meeting for members of groups also is held every month.
More than 150 cases in which mental health treatment has been denied have been collected and considered for a legal action. Finding the right case is a challenge. We are collecting experts in Washington who will testify when the right case is found.
A legal class action suit is being considered by the Task Force with the firm Sirianni, Youtz, and Spoonemore, which has had successful suits in similar actions. Many more details are in development.
Changes to CPT Codes, Health Care Delivery and DSM-V
I developed webinars for the Clinical Social Work Association that explain the changes to the CPT codes this year, the implementation of the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Electronic Health Records (EHRs), and am in the process of developing a webinar on the changes to the DSM-V this summer. Anyone who is a member of CSWA can access the first two webinars.
Thank you for your support of my legislative work. Please let me know if you have any questions
2013 Mental Hill Bill Chart
Here is a list of bills for the 2013 Legislative Session in Olympia that affect mental health access and delivery. Thanks to Seth Dawson for providing this information. This chart will be updated weekly during the Session with new bills, the progress of bills, and bills that are not moved forward during the course of Session. Read the entire chart (click here).
Saturday, April 27, 2013
University of Washington
Don't miss the second offering of this highly rated conference if you have any interest in crafting your online presence, the ethics of using social media for clinical purposes, how to think about telemental health and resources for secure platforms, how to build a website with high SEO, and much more.
Six Ethics CEUs offered for LICSWs, LMFTs, LMHCs, PhDs, ARPNs, and CCs
Washington State Coalition of Mental Health Professionals & Consumers
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 30087 Seattle, WA 98113 Phone: 206-444-4304