Legislative Updates

NH Board of Mental Health Update

CE Requirement Update

NOTICE – CE’s in suicide prevention will be required by all licensees renewing a license that expires after January 1, 2017.

Pursuant to RSA 330-A:10, XIV, the Board is required to adopt:  Procedures for assuring the continuing competence of persons licensed under this chapter including, but not limited to, continuing education requirements, provided that at least 3 hours of the required continuing education units for biennial renewal shall be from a nationally recognized, evidence-based or best practices training organization in the area of suicide prevention, intervention, or postvention and how mental illness, substance use disorders, trauma, or interpersonal violence directly impacts risk for suicide.

Mhp 402.01 (d) was adopted by the Board on January 15, 2016 and reads as follows: 

At least 3 of the 40 CEU’s shall be completed in accordance with RSA 330-A:10, XIV and shall be from Category A.

Revised Rules!

The NH Board of Mental Health recently re adopted :  Mhp 200, Mhp 300, Mhp 400 and Mhp 500.    Most of the revisions were minor, however, the rules list below are new and should be reviewed by all licensees.  All rules are available on the Board’s website:  http://www.nh.gov/mhpb/laws.html

·         Mhp 302.01 (c)(9) – “Supervisors for candidates for licensure must successfully complete one of the following before January 31, 2016: 1) a graduate level course in clinical supervision; 2) a clinical supervision certificate approved by AAPC, NASW, AMHCA or AAMFT or 3) 12 CEU's in clinical supervision”.

·         Mhp 302.03 (a)(3) – “An original, not a photocopy, of a criminal offender record report that is issued by each state where the applicant has resided or been licensed within the past 5 years.”

·         Mhp 305.01 (c) – “Until December 31, 2021 an applicant who has been granted a degree in mental health counseling based upon a program consisting of at least 48 credit hours,  shall not be licensed unless additional graduate credit hours of instruction are obtained to meet the 60 credit hour degree requirement of RSA 330-A:19.”

 ·         Mhp 402.02 (b)(9) Association of Social Work Boards

3/17/2016

SENATE PASSES AYOTTE’S COMPREHENSIVE ADDICTION AND RECOVERY ACT

 Ayotte has been working for nearly 2 years to pass bipartisan legislation to help combat the prescription opioid and abuse crisis

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United States Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), bipartisan legislation that U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte helped introduce to help address the heroin and prescription opioid abuse epidemic. The bill will increase support for prevention, treatment, first responders, and individuals in recovery. Ayotte has been fighting to bring the bill to the Senate floor since 2014, and has worked hard to build support for the bill from her colleagues and New Hampshire stakeholders. She recently testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee with Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard to urge support of CARA, which the committee approved shortly thereafter.

 In addition to her continued efforts to pass CARA, Ayotte also worked to include significant increased funding in the Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations bill for programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration specifically related to combatting opioid abuse. Last fall, she also helped include $1.5 billion in increased funding for substance abuse and mental health programs in the budget reconciliation bill, which would have allowed the Health and Human Services Secretary to prioritize funding for states like New Hampshire that are experiencing especially urgent substance abuse and mental health needs. Further, Senator Ayotte cosponsored and voted to advance an amendment to CARA introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) which would have appropriated $600 million in emergency funding to help combat the prescription opioid and heroin abuse crisis in New Hampshire and across the nation.

  “For nearly two years, I’ve been pleased to work alongside Senators Portman, Whitehouse, and Klobuchar to build support for CARA, and I’m glad the Senate passed this important bill with overwhelming bipartisan support.  CARA will help increase prevention efforts, ensure law enforcement and first responders have greater access to the tools they need on the front lines, increase support for individuals in recovery, and improve treatment, intervention, and prescribing practices for pain management.  CARA is a significant step forward in the federal response to this crisis, and I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this bill right away so we can take action to save lives in New Hampshire and across the country,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte.

 “In Rhode Island, I’ve seen addiction touch people in all walks of life, reach communities big and small, and claim far too many lives.  This bill treats addiction like the illness it is.  The bill will help states give teachers, law enforcement officers, health care providers, family members, and all those on the front lines of this battle a better shot at success,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “Addiction is a tough illness, and recovery is a hard but noble path.  The men and women who walk it deserve our support, encouragement, and admiration.  That’s why I am so proud to have passed this legislation today.”

“Today’s strong bipartisan vote is a victory for American families who are struggling with the disease of addiction.  We know that the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs is tearing apart families and devastating our communities.  This bill will help more Americans put their lives back together and achieve their God-given potential,” said Senator Rob Portman.  “I’d like to thank Senator Whitehouse and all of my colleagues, as well as all the anti-drug groups, medical experts, law enforcement officials and others who have helped bring about today’s bipartisan success.  We’ve made great progress today but our work is far from over.  I urge the House of Representatives to act quickly so we can deliver this bill to the president for his signature.  The time to act is now.”

 “As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects drug abuse can have on families in Minnesota and across the country,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said.  “We must spare no effort to reverse this deadly trend.  Today’s vote brings us one step closer to enacting this critical bipartisan legislation and giving communities the tools they need to combat drug abuse, including my provision on prescription drug monitoring.  I hope that the House will act quickly to pass this bill so it can be signed into law.”

 Senator Ayotte was an original cosponsor of CARA when it was introduced in 2014, and helped reintroduce the legislation in 2015. Ayotte, Whitehouse, Portman, and Klobuchar have held several congressional briefings with stakeholders from the public health, law enforcement, criminal justice, and other fields looking at ways to better support prevention efforts, treatment, and recovery. 

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act would:

 ·       Expand substance abuse prevention and educational efforts.

·        Expand the availability of opioid overdose reversal drugs such as naloxone to first responders, including law enforcement agencies and firefighters, so that more lives can be saved. 

·       Increase resources to identify and treat individuals who have a substance use disorder and are incarcerated or otherwise have come into contact with the criminal justice system through the use of evidence-based treatment.

·       Expand prescription drug disposal sites for unwanted medications, keeping them out of the hands of children.

·       Establish an evidence-based prescription opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program which focuses on expanding throughout the country best practices in treatment. 

·       Strengthen Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and help prevent doctor shopping. 

·       Reauthorize treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women, and allow women in non-residential facilities and those who have come into contact with the criminal justice system access to these services.

·       Reauthorize important task forces to combat heroin and methamphetamine abuse.

 CARA was endorsed by a bipartisan group of 38 Attorneys General, including New Hampshire’s Joseph A. Foster. The bill is supported by over 130 organizations, including the New England Association of Chiefs of Police, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, National District Attorneys Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Faces and Voices of Recovery, the National Council for Behavioral Health, and the Major County Sheriffs' Association, among many others.

 

###

 

2/19/2016 From Senator Ayotte:

EFFORTS TO COMBAT NEW HAMPSHIRE’S PRESCRIPTION OPIOID, HEROIN, FENTANYL, AND SYNTHETIC DRUG ABUSE EPIDEMICS 

Comprehensive Approach: Senator Ayotte helped reintroduce the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (S. 524), which would provide incentives and resources for states and communities to better develop and implement proven strategies to combat addiction. Additionally, the legislation expands prevention and educational efforts for teens, parents, caretakers, and aging populations to prevent substance misuse and promote treatment and recovery. Senator Ayotte has also written to the Attorney General to encourage the use of an “all hands on deck” approach to combat the heroin and prescription opioid abuse crises nationwide. (Read more)

FY 2016 OMNIBUS & SUBSTANCE ABUSE FUNDING

Along with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Senator Ayotte led a bipartisan coalition in urging Senate appropriators to include in the final government funding bill the highest possible level of funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment – programs located within SAMHSA.

The fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus includes the following:

 Opioid Abuse Programs at SAMHSA and CDC: A total of $123 million—an increase of $91 million or 284 percent over FY2015 levels—for programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) related to combatting opioid abuse. (Read more)



 State Legislation    

7/19/2015

Representatives Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced the Mental Health Access

Improvement Act which will give LMHC's Medicare Provider Status. This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on June 12, 2015, which will consider it before possibly (hopefully) sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole. It is critical for those we serve and the future of our profession that LCMHC's have Medicare provider status. As we move into a more integrated healthcare arena we will be left out if we are prohibited from seeing some segments of the population. Reach out to your legislators and ask them to support this bill. If we do not advocate for our profession, we will not be supported?  Our congressional delegates are listed online at:

http://www.nh.gov/government/nhcong.html.  

Please let them know you support, and expect them to support HR 2759.


Suicide CEUs may soon be required

4/17/2015

Senate Bill 33, relative to continuing education requirements for mental health practitioners on suicide prevention, passed the NH House April 15, 2015 on a voice vote. 

Because the bill passed in the same form as it was passed by the Senate in January, the bill will now go directly to the Governor for her action.  The enrolling process may take a while before the bill actually reaches the Governor's desk. 

The following is a link to the text of the bill as it passed the House and Senate:

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0033.pdf


CEU Alert!

4/12/2015

The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC), with the goal of adding structure for continuing education providers, has made some recent changes to their Continuing Education Provider Policy. It is important to note that these changes to the rules, regulations and procedures for approval will go into effect as of May 1st 2015.

According to NBCC, LCMHC”s who are attending workshops for CEU’s need to verify that the workshop they are attending is NBCC approved.  Any workshops that are approved by NBCC for LCMHC CEU’s will have the NBCC logo on their registration form and/or flyers indicating that they have been approved to grant CEU’s by NBCC. 

NBCC has provided a description of this new policy along with answers to frequently asked questions on their website.  Follow the link

 below for more information.

http://www.nbcc.org/newCEpolicy

 

To find your NH State Representatives or Senator click here.

NATIONAL LEGISLATION

 
Kelly Ayotte
 
Jeanne Shaheen
 
 
 



Two Calls to Action

2/3/2016

A few things you need to know (and act on)

H. A. Goodman, Ph.D.

As we are all painfully aware, LCMHC’s have been locked out of Medicare provider status with no reason for the discrimination.  Our national organization, AMHCA has been working on gaining acceptance for some time, but with little success.  Once again we (AMHCA) is attempting to gain acceptance for us, and they need our help. 

“New bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to exten

d Medicare provider status to mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists. On July 22, 2015 Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the “Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act” (S. 1830) and on June 12, 2015 Representatives Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced the House version as (HR. 2759). The identical bills would allow Medicare beneficiaries access to mental health counselor services and marriage and family therapists (MFTs) through Medicare. By providing these mental health professionals the opportunity to participate in the Medicare program, the bills expand the number of mental health providers available to beneficiaries. (AMHCA, 2016).

This is important legislation and we should support it by writing to our congressional representatives, so this is a call to action.  You can identify our delegates online at https://www.nh.gov/government/nhcong.html.  But to save time, they are:


    Congressman Frank Guinta
    Manchester Office 
    33 Lowell Street 
    Manchester, NH 0310

And

    Congresswoman Annie Kuster 
    18 North Main Street, Fourth Floor 
    Concord, NH 03301

I would simply say:

 


Dear Congressman Guinta, or Congresswoman Kuster (choose one or write to both separately),

I am writing to request that you please support HR2759.  As a New Hampshire Mental Health Counselor I wish to support the population of New Hampshire; those in need of mental health services and covered by Medicare.  Additionally I can’t understand why those in my highly skilled field are excluded from being able to gain provider status when we meet or exceed licensing standards as set by the NH State Legislature and the NH State Board of Mental Health Practice.  This exclusion seems unjustified and unwarranted.  Thank you so much for your support in this very important legislation.


Now on to issue number two.  You may have heard that Nick Toumpas resigned as the head of DHHS.  The Governor and members of the state Executive Counsel have selected as Acting Commissioner, Jeffrey A. Meyers.  According to the Governor’s website, “Meyers previously worked as the Director for Government Relations for the Granite Healthcare Network and also served as Chief Legal Counsel to Governor John H. Lynch, as Legal Counsel for the New Hampshire State Senate, and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General”

Did you notice anything missing from his biography?  In a state where drug abuse issues, and drug related deaths are increasing year over year, where the drug Narcan has become well known, where we consistently rank among the bottom of the 50 states in our care of the mentally ill, where the state hospital has steadily lost budget share – it is an organization of DHHS, and remains understaffed, and so much more, we are experiencing the appointment of a lawyer with no skills in the behavioral health arena.  Really?

It seems impossible to believe that in all of New Hampshire we don’t have a single qualified behavioral health specialist either currently working in DHHS or in another behavioral health organization of the state.  Not a single psychologist, psychiatrist, mental health counselor, clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, or what have you. 

I understand that DHHS has responsibilities beyond mental health, including welfare services and Medicaid.  But the biggest issues facing us today I would argue is our drug problem and other behavioral health issues.  So I am suggesting that you write, call or otherwise contact the Governor’s office or members of the Executive Counsel and let them know that a lawyer, no matter how well thought of in their circles, is simply not the best choice to help our state address behavioral health and drug-related issues.  Our goal after all must be to help people recover and to endorse prevention, not litigation.

Here is the contact information you will need:

The state website for the Executive Council is https://www.nh.gov/council/.  On the website each counselor, and there are five, has a list of the towns they support and their contact information if you just click below their name. 

As always, this is a call to action, but these are suggestions.  If you don’t wish to support Medicare provider participation or are not concerned with who runs DHHS, then none of this applies to you.  But at least you’ll have the information you need.