CURRENT LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
Telehealth Provider Certification
The Telehealth Provider Certification is required by Indiana Code 25-1-9.5. Any out of state practitioner, and their employer, wishing to practice telehealth in Indiana must file a certification with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. This certification is to ensure that the practitioner and their employer voluntarily agree to be subject to the jurisdiction of Indiana courts and Indiana substantive and procedural laws concerning the care of an individual who is located in Indiana at the time of the services. Practitioners who are licensed in the state of Indiana do not have to file a certification, but can do so if they wish. Those with an Associate license are not eligible to file a certification, but this does not preclude them from practicing telehealth. A Telehealth Provider Certification can be filed online here: https://www.in.gov/pla/professions/telemedicine/
Mental Health Diagnosis
SEA 82, Mental Health Diagnosis, permits masters level licensed professionals (LCSW, LCAC, LMHC, LMFT) to diagnose mental health disorders. This is a long time in coming and will enhance workforce expertise and productivity. As a result of this bill, over 10,000 clinicians will now be able to diagnose mental health conditions. With 74 or the 92 counties considered mental health professional shortage areas and 70% of the counties in Indiana currently having insufficient or no access to psychiatrists, this bill will increase the number of clinicians who can diagnose and provide treatment in a timely way.
Senate Bill 82: Mental Health Diagnosis - Defines "mental health diagnosis" and sets forth requirements that must be met in order for certain licensed professionals to provide a mental health diagnosis. Requires certain mental health professionals who are making a mental health diagnosis and who determine that the patient has not been examined by a physician in the preceding 12 months to recommend to the patient that the patient schedule an examination by a physician at the earliest opportunity. Requires notation of that recommendation in the patient's medical record.What does this mean? If passed, SB 82 will allow LCSW, LMHC, LMFT, and LCAC to provide diagnosis. Current Indiana statute allows LCSW’s to provide a diagnostic impression that must be approved by an HSPP or an MD to be in compliance with the law.
See more information about this bill here.
Thanks to Senator Crider (S-28) & Senator Charbonneau (S-5) for authoring the bill and to Senators Doriot (S-2), J.D. Ford (S-29), Becker (S-50), Breaux (S-34),Yoder (S-40), Grooms (S-46) and J. Ford (S-38) for co-authoring the bill and thanks to the Senate Public Health and Provider Services committee for unanimously supporting the bill in committee, and thanks to every Senator for supporting SB 82.
For more information, please contact the ICA Legislative Committee Chair Angelica Arreola, M.A., LCPC (IL), LMHC (IN) at Hello@Benchmark-Counseling.com.
Mental Health and Addiction Programs
Governor Holcomb, Lt Governor Crouch, and the members of the Indiana General Assembly assisted to the Full Restoration of funding for Mental Health and Addiction programs!
Recovery Works and the appropriation of an additional
$100M over the biennium to fund mental health initiatives are included!
At a time of great need, the Budget Bill (HB 1001), as introduced, made over $26M in cuts for the biennium to mental health and addiction services. These cuts would have severely and negatively impacted the behavioral health service delivery system in Indiana. Thanks to the strong advocacy effort by mental health and addiction advocates, key legislators, and state leadership, the Indiana General Assembly has successfully restored ALL of the introduced cuts--including full restoration for Recovery Works! In addition, HB 1001 would appropriate an additional $100M over the biennium to fund mental health initiatives!
To read more about the proposed state budget bill, please read below:
House Bill 1001: STATE BUDGET - Appropriates money for capital expenditures, the operation of the state, K-12 and higher education, the delivery of Medicaid and other services, and various other distributions and purposes. Replaces the governor with the budget director or the budget director's designee on the state board of finance. Renames the personal services/fringe benefits contingency fund as the budget agency contingency fund (fund).
Congress Introduces Mental Health Counselors in Medicare Legislation
Bipartisan legislation that would include licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs), as well as licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), as Medicare providers, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2021, HR 432, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Representative John Katko (R-NY).
This bipartisan legislation would require Medicare to finally recognize LMHCs as Medicare-eligible providers of covered behavioral health services to older adults and other Medicare beneficiaries.