[Posted for Larry Epp — President of Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of Maryland]
As President of the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of Maryland, I do not usually reach out to you on a professional issue unless it is very important. Some of you may have been following the developments with the accrediting agency, CACREP, whose supporters have been trying to restrict the practice of LCPCs who have not attended their accredited programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Right now, supporters of this organization have instituted a campaign to close practice in Virginia to LCPCs from non-CACREP schools, counseling psychology, school psychology, clinical psychology, art/creative therapy master’s programs in seven years. While veteran LCPCs from Maryland can transfer their license to Virginia as the laws are currently constructed, the underlying concern is that the CACREP restriction will enter insurance regulations such as in Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance plans, as has already occurred in Tricare, the Veterans Administration, and Department of Defense schools and programs.
Those who believe in the CACREP only standard have an ideological belief in separating psychology from counseling to create a pure and independent “mental health counseling profession.” Whatever the merits or pitfalls of their argument, the fact is that the changes they are promoting could potentially restrict the practice of many Maryland LCPCs in the future, especially if their thinking enters the recently introduced Medicare Bill on Capitol Hill or in the qualifications to practice in a Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Center under the Excellence in Mental Health Act. I do not have a crystal ball to know what will happen precisely, but this movement is certainly concerning and demands a response from those who favor the protection of existing practice rights and greater inclusivity in the future.
I urge you to weigh in on this important issue. I have attached the link below to the Virginia Board of Counseling’s website, who is for 30 days accepting comments on this issue. Virginia is a battle ground state, as it was one of the first to license professional counselors; and it is the headquarters for three national counseling associations. Thank you for considering my suggestion.
Here is the Virginia Board comment area that can be found online: