The Oregon Counseling Association, in partnership with the American Counseling Association and a host of partner organizations, is urging our members to contact Oregon's federal delegation to support the Federal Mental Health Access Improvement Act, which has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 945) and Senate (S.286).
This important legislation will include licensed professional counselors (LPCs) as covered Medicare providers. Medicare currently does not include licensed professional counselors in its coverage. Even though Medicare beneficiaries are often at higher risk for mental health problems, such as depression and opioid addiction, yet older Americans are the least likely to receive mental health services.
Medicaid recipients can see an LPC and Medicaid will cover them-until they reach 65. Many individuals with private health insurance have mental health coverage but, once they retire, find that they can no longer afford to see an LPC. The passage of this legislation will enable Medicare to help the 4 out 5 seniors currently not receiving much-needed mental health care.
The Oregon Counseling Association is committed to professional advocacy for mental health counselors and our clients. Your membership dues directly fund these efforts via the Coalition of Oregon Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy (COPACT).
A collaboration between ORCA and the Oregon Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (OAMFT), COPACT works to advance access to quality mental health care for all Oregonians. COPACT supports legislation that promotes and protects our professions and our clients, working on behalf of all LPCs, LMFTs, registered interns, and counseling and MFT students. COPACT's volunteer board and professional lobbyist are our voice in Salem.
For an idea of some of what COPACT's done for our profession, click here. A few highlights: