Government Affairs Newsroom

The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is committed to keeping counselors informed about public policy issues affecting the profession. Our regular posts will highlight legislative and regulatory initiatives relating to counselor employment, reimbursement, funding, and practice rights. Stay tuned to ensure that you are up to date on all the latest counseling initiatives.

Inaugural Compact Commission Meeting set for October

Published: 9/23/2022 4:05:00 PM

Delaware recently became the 17th state to join the Interstate Counseling Compact, and now each member state will appoint a delegate to the newly formed Compact Commission, which will meet for the first time in October.

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NBCC Submits Comments to CMS on Proposed 2023 Physician Fee Schedule

Published: 9/23/2022 4:00:00 PM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its proposed Physicians Fee Schedule, which helps determine reimbursement rates. Read more about NBCC’s comments to CMS to include LPCs and increase access to care.

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Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Requests Timeline for Creation of Occupational Series

Published: 8/24/2022 10:00:00 AM

Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, have requested an update from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Office of Personnel Management on the efforts to create the occupational series for LPMHCs and MFTs in the VA.

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New Federal Grant Programs Address Children’s Mental Health Issues

Published: 8/24/2022 9:55:00 AM

The Biden administration has implemented new grant programs to address youth mental health issues and strengthen school-based services to help children in need of care. These efforts will also create new opportunities for counselors across the country.

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Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Includes New Mental Health Funding

Published: 7/20/2022 5:00:00 PM

The Safer Communities Act will expand children’s mental health services, strengthen existing federal gun laws, and expand access to Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHCs). NBCC summarizes key points and what to expect next.

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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Proposed Regulatory Reforms to Improve Access to Care

Published: 7/20/2022 5:00:00 PM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has proposed a rule change to the 2023 Physician Fee Schedule, which governs payments to professionals who bill Medicare for their services.

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Ten States Have Enacted the Counseling Compact! So, What’s Next?

Published: 5/13/2022 2:10:00 PM

In April, Nebraska became the 10th state to join the Counseling Compact, enabling the long-awaited legislation to be enacted so that counselors in its member states can practice within all of those states. Here’s a look at what will happen next in the process.

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The 9-8-8 Implementation Act of 2022 (H.R. 7116) Will Help Save Lives

Published: 5/13/2022 2:00:00 PM

A new 9-8-8 dialing code will go into effect July 16, 2022, to help improve access to suicide prevention and crisis services, but many states are not yet prepared. By asking your legislators to support the 9-8-8 Implementation Act of 2022 (H.R. 7116), you can help your state receive guidance and resources to establish and streamline its system before the transition.

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NBCC Supports Virgin Islands Counselors to Increase Scope of Practice

Published: 4/13/2022 7:02:00 PM

Communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and others across the globe, are facing more extensive mental health concerns than ever before due to the pandemic, global unrest, substance disorders, and the multifaceted stressors impacting families.

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Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act Signed Into Law

Published: 4/13/2022 6:59:00 PM

In March of 2022, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (S. 4349) was signed into law. Focused on improving mental health care for counselors and other providers, it includes funding to raise awareness, combat stigma, and prevent suicide and burnout.

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The Fight for Medicare Coverage Persists

Published: 3/22/2022 3:44:00 PM

NBCC and members of the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition continue their efforts to have mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists recognized by Medicare.

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Recent Hearings Spotlight Growing Access Challenges to Care and Need for Bold Policy Action

Published: 2/18/2022 4:23:00 PM

In a recent flurry of congressional hearings, mental health experts have renewed calls for increased resources for mental health care, investing in the workforce, expanding access to telehealth, and broadening the continuum of care for individuals in crisis situations.

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NBCC and MMHWC Support the Mental Health Access Improvement Act

Published: 2/8/2022 9:56:00 PM

As NBCC and the MMWHC continue to gain support for the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, now is the time to contact members of Congress to show support for the needs of millions of Medicare recipients who lack access to mental health services.

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GAO Study Spotlights Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 on Young People

Published: 2/8/2022 8:23:00 PM

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has released a report on high-risk populations whose mental health continues to be affected by the pandemic, including children, young adults, and parents.

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Compacts, Access, and Responsible Expansion (CARE) for Mental Health Professionals Act

Published: 1/26/2022 2:46:00 PM

In November 2021, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO-2) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) introduced H.R. 6076, the Compacts, Access, and Responsible Expansion (CARE) for Mental Health Professionals Act.

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The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Mental Health Programs

Published: 1/7/2022 7:49:00 PM

The National Defense Authorization Act is legislation that Congress passes each year to make changes to the policies and organization of U.S. defense agencies and provide guidance on how military funding can be spent. Congress uses the NDAA to establish defense priorities, make organizational changes to military agencies, and provide guidance on how funding should be used.

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No Surprises Act

Published: 1/5/2022 3:03:00 PM

The No Surprises Act was signed into law in December 2020 and contains key provisions that align with the intentional transparency, clarity of processes, and initial disclosures that counselors value. Read our brief summary of key provisions impacting counselors and their practice.

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Mental Health Provisions in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act

Published: 1/4/2022 10:07:00 PM

Each year, Congress authorizes mental health programs and services to support service members, military retirees, and their families through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The recently passed 2022 NDAA (S. 1605) includes mental health care programs and services to address the needs of these individuals.

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Potential Mental Health Impacts of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Published: 12/8/2021 11:00:00 AM

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) was signed into law through bipartisan action in mid-November with plans for investing in high-speed internet, transportation, the environment, and other aspects of our “built world.” Why is this something that counselors should care about? Because there are significant implications for access to mental health care, counselors, and the counseling profession.

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Hill Day at Home

Published: 10/12/2021 8:31:00 PM

NBCC and the Grassroots network will be taking part in the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s Hill Day at Home on Oct. 19. We encourage certified counselors to sign up to participate and advocate for the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act (H.R. 4323/S. 2069) and the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (H.R. 432/S. 828).

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Advocating for Medicare Recognition

Published: 10/7/2021 3:34:00 PM

On Sept. 14, counselors and mental health advocates across the country came together on Virtual Action Day to help the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition spread the word about the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (H.R. 432/S. 828).

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NBCC Participates in Virtual Action Day for Medicare

Published: 9/15/2021 10:00:00 AM

NBCC, along with the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition, counselors, and marriage and family therapists from across the country, participated in the Virtual Action Day on Sept. 14.

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H.Res. 349 & International Overdose Awareness Day

Published: 8/18/2021 10:00:00 AM

Since 2019, it is estimated that more than 90,000 lives have been lost to overdose. Though much has been done by counselors and other health care professionals to try to enhance prevention, treatment, services, and supports, individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) often still face stigma, discrimination, and marginalization within society.

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Mental Health and Wellness for Older Adults: Counselors Are Prepared to Serve

Published: 7/14/2021 10:00:00 AM

It is essential to the profession that health coverage providers recognize the value of the services provided by the more than 250,000 counselors and marriage and family therapists.

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Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2021

Published: 6/17/2021 12:05:00 PM

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2021 (S. 828/H.R. 432), continues to build momentum in the Senate. If passed, the proposed legislation would allow mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to bill Medicare for counseling services.

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Counseling Compact Highlights

Published: 6/17/2021 12:00:00 PM

Licensed counselors continue to watch the progression of the Counseling Compact, an interstate compact that would give state legislators the power to expand portability and protect the public.

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Legislation to Include Counselors in Medicare Introduced in Senate

Published: 4/14/2021 10:00:00 AM

With S. 828, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, recently introduced in the Senate, NBCC and our partners in the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition will continue to build on the momentum from success in the last Congress and hope to gain even more cosponsors.

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State Legislatures Addressing Telehealth, Portability

Published: 4/14/2021 9:55:00 AM

As state legislatures have been introducing and passing legislation on telehealth and portability, NBCC remains committed to promoting proposals that both preserve educational requirements for counselors and expand portability and telehealth opportunities.

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Congress Passes $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Legislation

Published: 3/17/2021 1:00:00 PM

Congress passed another sweeping COVID-19 relief bill. Titled the American Rescue Plan, the legislation was signed into law by President Joe Biden after months of debate in both the House and the Senate.

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Bill to Provide Medicare Coverage for Counselors Reintroduced in the House

Published: 2/10/2021 11:00:00 AM

The Mental Health Access Improvement Act has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 432 by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24).

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Appropriations Process for FY 22 Getting Underway

Published: 2/10/2021 10:55:00 AM

The federal appropriations process, by which Congress allocates funds for the entirety of the federal government, is getting underway for fiscal year 2022.

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NBCC Priority Programs Get Funding Increases

Published: 1/13/2021 1:24:00 PM

Despite months of setbacks and disagreements on the fiscal year 2021 budget, NBCC’s Government & Legislative Affairs team was able to secure funding increases for many of our priority federal programs.

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As 117th Congress Looms, NBCC Prepares Priorities

Published: 12/9/2020 11:00:00 AM

NBCC’s Government and Legislative Affairs Department is preparing to continue pushing for our priority issues in the 117th Congress.

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President Signs Major VA Mental Health Legislation, Focus Turns to Implementation

Published: 11/11/2020 11:00:00 AM

With the recent passing of S. 785, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, NBCC commits to working with the VA in implementing this important legislation.

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Congress Passes Temporary Spending Bill

Published: 10/14/2020 9:55:00 AM

Congress has passed a last-minute continuing resolution to keep the government funded through Dec. 11. With the approaching November elections, it is possible that they could pass another continuing resolution to push the negotiation process into early 2021.

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NBCC Sends Letters to HHS Secretary and CMS Administrator on Medicare Bill, Telehealth

Published: 9/16/2020 10:00:00 AM

NBCC, along with the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition, sent letters urging HHS Secretary Azar and CMS Administrator Verma to include S. 286/H.R. 945 in any list of policy options they present to the president.

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FCC Approves 9-8-8 for National Suicide Hotline

Published: 8/12/2020 10:00:00 AM

The commissioners of the FCC recently unanimously voted to approve 988 as the designated number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This change is the result of continued work by NBCC and many other mental health organizations to ensure that a three-digit number was created for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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House Releases Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

Published: 8/12/2020 9:55:00 AM

The House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies has released their appropriations bill, which includes substantial increases for several vitally important mental and behavioral health programs.

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Mental Health and Police Reform

Published: 7/15/2020 1:30:00 PM

As the movement toward police reform gains momentum, NBCC advocates for counselor inclusion in proposed legislation regarding mental health response teams.

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New CMS Rules Expand Medicare Reimbursement

Published: 6/10/2020 10:00:00 AM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently published a new Public Health Emergency Rule regarding Section 3704 of the CARES Act, passed on March 27. While these changes are set to expire after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is lifted, this rule marks significant progress in our fight to expand Medicare.

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HRSA Requesting Feedback on Health Indicators

Published: 6/10/2020 9:55:00 AM

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is requesting feedback from health care providers on two key scoring criteria that they use to develop agency policies. Learn how you can add your voice!

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States Taking Action to Expand Telehealth

Published: 5/6/2020 7:24:00 PM

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many state licensure boards are adopting emergency rules and policies to expand eligibility for telehealth providers.

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The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Latest Report

Published: 5/4/2020 7:32:00 PM

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) released a report, "Confronting Rural America’s Health Care Crisis," which highlights the need to expand Medicare.

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Senate Committee Passes Veterans Affairs Legislation

Published: 3/11/2020 10:00:00 AM

The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act (S. 785), was passed unanimously early last month. This bill is a large, sweeping measure that would make many changes to the way the VA currently provides mental health services to veterans.

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Congress Begins Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Process

Published: 3/11/2020 9:55:00 AM

As Congress begins the FY2021 appropriations process, NBCC continues to prioritize and push for federal spending to include SAMHSA’s Minority Fellowship Program and the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program.

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States Taking an Active Role in Banning Conversion Therapy

Published: 2/12/2020 11:00:00 AM

Conversion therapy, the controversial set of unproven and often harmful treatments that purport to “cure” same-sex attraction, is a practice that counselors and many other medical professionals have fought to ban for decades.

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Minority Fellowship Program Gets a $1M Increase

Published: 1/15/2020 10:55:00 AM

Despite the political challenges of the process, NBCC has successfully secured additional funding for many programs that fund counselor education and workforce development.

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Interested in Writing an Op-Ed on Medicare Coverage?

Published: 1/15/2020 10:50:00 AM

NBCC has been working with our partners to inform lawmakers and the public about the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, and we need board certified counselors willing to aid in our communication efforts!

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Congress Passes Another Short-Term Spending Deal

Published: 12/11/2019 2:00:00 PM

Congress passed a spending bill last month which extended funding until November 21 in an effort to buy more time to come to an agreement on 2020 spending levels.

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Medicare Bill Still in Focus for Second Congressional Session

Published: 12/5/2019 5:00:00 PM

Lawmakers are leaving Washington for recess and are scheduled to return on January 3 for the Second Session of the 116th Congress.

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Michigan Passes Legislation to Protect LPC Scope of Practice

Published: 11/13/2019 10:20:00 AM

The Michigan Legislature has passed HB 4325, a bill that clarifies licensure laws while protecting the scope of practice and ability of LPCs in the state to treat and diagnose.

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SAMHSA Launches New Tool for Substance Use Treatment

Published: 11/13/2019 10:00:00 AM

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has launched a new tool to help those in need of treatment for substance use disorder locate and access treatment near them.

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As Congress Continues Debates, NBCC Focuses on Funding

Published: 10/16/2019 9:10:00 AM

As Congress debates over federal spending levels, NBCC keeps its focus on working with Congressional partners to secure an increase in funding for SAMHSA’s Minority Fellowship Program.

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Suicide Hotline Plan Advances

Published: 9/11/2019 10:00:00 AM

U.S. Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) have introduced H.R. 4194, National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2019.

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Medicare Legislation Back in Focus as Congress Returns From Recess

Published: 9/11/2019 9:45:00 AM

Congress has returned from a month long August recess and has a full agenda for the rest of the year. Aside from finishing the appropriations process, it is likely Congress will look to pass at least some legislation relating to health care.

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August Recess Presents Grassroots Opportunities for Medicare Legislation

Published: 8/14/2019 10:00:00 AM

Members of the House of Representatives and Senate have left Washington D.C. for their annual summer recess

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Appropriations Process Delayed Until After August Recess

Published: 8/14/2019 9:00:00 AM

The House of Representatives moved forward with its annual appropriations process in the months leading up to the August recess, but the Senate waited until a budget and spending cap deal was struck and signed by the President

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Register for the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day!

Published: 7/9/2019 1:47:00 PM

NBCC is partnering with the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH) for the annual Hill Day in Washington D.C., which allows mental health professionals, including counselors, to visit their senators’ and representatives’ offices and make their voices heard on public policy.

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