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Vital Information!!

Important Changes to the DSM-5 You Need to Know
Aug 14, 2015 4:57 PM

Joseph Weeks
Joseph Weeks

The DSM-5, which was published in May of 2013, is the ruling guide for diagnostic codes to assist in billing for behavioral health issues in the U.S. One feature of the DSM is that it aligns its codes to those of the ICD-10, which is the other diagnostic authority used throughout the world. However, we have just come across information reported that there are approximately 70 diagnostic code errors in all DSM-5s printed and purchased before March of 2014. That leaves about a year’s worth of books with 70 diagnostic errors in them going into the mandatory changeover deadline of October of 2015. 
As you are most likely aware, this October marks the full transition from DSM-IV-TR codes to the full adoption of DSM-5 codes. Please don’t be left out on this important issue. I have contacted APA and they are not planning on reimbursing or sending out free corrected issues of the DSM-5. Therefore, it is up to you to know and make the changes.
Luckily, we at MaMHCA have found the changes available through this link: http://dsm.psychiatryonline.org/pb/assets/raw/dsm/pdf/DSM-5%20Coding%20Update_Final.pdf 
I hope this serves you well. Let me know if you have any other questions about this issue. 

Also, please check out my blogs in the blog section for other hopefully helpful tips to strengthen your state chapter and other efforts.


Joseph Weeks, MA, LMHC

President - MaMHCA (Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association)

Director of Public Policy & Legislation (MaMHCA)
Foxboro MA

News & Press: Industry News
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Sunday, August 02, 2015   (0 Comments
Posted by: Whitney Meyerhoeffer
Press Release
For Immediate Release: August 2, 2015
Contact: Whitney Meyerhoeffer
[email protected]
AMHCA, ACES and NBCC Jointly Endorse Plan for Licensure Portability
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) have jointly endorsed a plan for counselor licensure portability. This plan from leading counselor organizations establishes a regulatory platform allowing licensed counselors to move between and practice in multiple states.
The AMHCA-ACES-NBCC portability plan is built on sound principles of quality assurance and national standards. The plan will promote acceptance of a license from another state when the individual holds a degree from a clinically focused counselor preparation program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), holds certification as a National Certified Counselor, or meets standards adopted by the state board of counseling.
Dr. Keith Mobley, president of AMHCA, states: “The AMHCA leadership commends the efforts of NBCC and ACES for collaborating on this agreement, as it demonstrates strides toward professional unification and portability of licensure. It has been the long-standing goal of AMHCA to seek consistently high standards among credentials for clinical mental health counselors so that our profession may benefit by achieving status equivalent to other practitioners in federally funded programs and gain license portability among states.”
The sentiments are echoed by ACES President Dr. Tarrell Portman, who says: “the counseling profession has too long suffered from inconsistency in education and training standards. These varying requirements have hampered the growth of the profession and the ability of counselors to move across state lines. ACES is excited to be part of this strategic partnership to establish a national education and training standard for licensure portability.”
“This portability plan is a tremendous step forward for the counseling profession,” says NBCC’s Board Chair, Dr. Kylie Dotson-Blake. “The adoption of a CACREP degree or the NCC will give licensure boards the quality control they need to recognize out-of-state licensees. NBCC applauds the AMHCA and ACES leadership for uniting behind this pioneering plan.”
Mobley summarizes the views of all the organizations when he says, “We are grateful for the collaboration and shared vision for licensed professional mental health counselors and invite other organizations and leaders of our profession to participate.”
Dr. Keith Mobley, President
American Mental Health Counselors Association
The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) is the leading national organization for licensed clinical mental health counselors.
Dr. Tarrell Portman, President
Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
The Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) is the premier organization dedicated to quality education and supervision of counselors in all work settings.
Dr. Kylie Dotson-Blake,Chair
National Board for
Certified Counselors
The National Board for Certified Counselors is the premier certification organization for the counseling profession.

Medicare Legislation Action Alert

New bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to extend 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. 

Licensed Professional Counselors, LPCs, and LMFTs are urged to email their two U.S. Senators and one Representative to urge them to co-sponsor 
S. 1830/HR. 2759. AMHCA members may find their Senators and Representative’s email address on their office websites. See these suggested email messages to Senate and House offices.   Go to http://www.scalpc.org for a list of senators and house representatives.
Background and Justification
About 50 percent of rural counties have no practicing psychiatrists or psychologists. Mental Health Counselors and MFTs are often the only mental health providers in many communities, and yet they are not now recognized as covered providers within the Medicare program. These therapists have equivalent or greater training, education and practice rights as currently eligible provider groups that can bill for mental health services through Medicare.   Other government agencies already recognize these professions for independent practice.

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International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems-10 (ICD-10) Codes are Required for Behavioral Health Providers

ICD codes have always been a requirement for filing claims for all providers, including behavioral health providers. 
The implementation date for ICD-10 codes is October 1, 2015. All providers must submit an appropriate ICD-10 code to ensure proper claims processing and payment. Failure to use ICD-10 codes for dates of service after October 1, 2015, will result in non-payment.
You can continue to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) code for clinical documentation.
Differences Between ICD-9 and ICD-10  
The ICD-10 code sets have fundamental changes in structure and concepts that make them very different from ICD-9. There is a new arrangement of categories and alpha-numeric formats.
Currently, for behavioral health diagnoses, the ICD-9 and DSM codes are a virtual match. Therefore, in most cases, a DSM code would be acceptable since it would be the same as an ICD-9 code. For example, the code for a single episode of major depressive disorder is 296.2 in both the DSM-4 and ICD-9-clinical modification (CM). The code is F32 in ICD-10.
There are approximately 68,000 ICD-10 codes. Keep in mind that your practice will use a minimal number of codes.
To prepare for ICD-10, Companion Benefit Alternatives (CBA) encourages you to:
  • Purchase applicable resource materials from the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association, such as the DSM-5 manual, which includes the ICD-10 code for each DSM code. 
  • Contact all providers, payers, software vendors, clearinghouses and other billing services to ensure they are on track to be compliant by the October 1 implementation date.
  • Ask your service vendors if they have been involved in testing so they can detect any issues prior to the transition.
Please note: covered entities should not use the new codes prior to October 1, 2015.
For more information, please contact your provider contract specialist at 800-868-1032, ext. 25538 or ext. 25731. We appreciate your continued service to our members. If you have questions or concerns, please email us at [email protected].

Visit our website at www.CompanionBenefitAlternatives.com.

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Important changes you need to know!!

Regularly check this link to stay up do date on the most recent and impactful changes in the counseling world!!

Certification by Other Licensure Reciprocity
By D. Shannan McKinney, LPC/S, LPC, CAC II, Chair, SCAADAC Certification Commission
On behalf of the SCAADAC Certification Commission, I am pleased to inform you that SCAADAC's Certification Commission has approved a new provision for obtaining certification for counselors who currently hold a licensure in good standing in the state of South Carolina in a related mental health/counseling field. The person seeking certification under this provision must be fully licensed (i.e., not a licensed intern, etc.). The Commission's intention in approving this new provision is to build a skilled workforce and maintain qualified licensed individuals throughout the substance abuse treatment profession in South Carolina. 
Please refer to the enclosed checklist, labeled Appendix VIII, which details the requirements and conditions under which certification may be obtained through reciprocity. Appendix VII: Requirements for Certification by Other Licensure Reciprocity is intended to become a permanent provision.
This provision is effective as of the date of this memo. We hope that all eligible members of the substance abuse profession will take advantage of this opportunity to further enhance their professional credentials through certification. 

Changing Testing Expectations:

The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is slowly becoming more important to the licensed counselor.  In fact, Tricare (provides insurance coverage for military personal and their families) is making a requirement that Mental Health Counselors must have taken and passed the NCMHCE, before being accepted on their panels, with some exceptions.