New Final TRICARE Regulations came out July, 17, 2014

News from Courtenay J. Culp, LCPC, Executive Director of LCPCM

July, 27, 2014

New Final TRICARE Regulations came out July, 17, 2014

Delineating the Requirements for LCPC Independent Practice under TRICARE

The US Department of Defense published in a final rule July 17, 2014 to implement the new TRICARE Certified Mental Health Counselor (TCMHC) provider type as a qualified mental health provider authorized to independently diagnose and treat TRICARE beneficiaries and receive payment for services.

The final rule goes into effect on August 18, 2014. The TRICARE rule includes at least three major wins which the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of Maryland (LCPCM) and our advocacy partners made. They include:

1)      An extended “transition period” (grand-parenting period) to January 1, 2017, providing extended time to prepare and take the NCMHC Exam.

2)      Expansion of the pool of qualified supervisors to include licensed psychologists, licensed social workers and psychiatrists so more LCPCs will be eligible.

3)      Keeping the current supervised TRICARE providers, now called Supervisor Mental Health Counselor (SMHC) intact with the ability to practice with physician referral indefinitely.

We are disappointed that TRICARE is requiring the NCMHC Exam instead of the NCE. However, at least there is a 2 ½ year extension to prepare and take the exam should you want to become an independent TRICARE provider.

Additionally, we are disappointed that TRICARE kept the CACREP-only policy for approval of graduate programs, but we intend to continue to lobby vigorously to have this aspect of the rule amended.

LCPC of Maryland and Massachusetts MHCA leaders are now working with TRICARE to make the TRICARE application easier to complete.

Again, if you want to be an independent provider for TRICARE, you will have to have passed the NCMHC Exam by January 1, 2017.

To read the Final Rules, go to