Advance Notice: Briefs

Bill protecting licensed professional counselors heads to Whitmer’s desk

By: - October 18, 2019 1:33 pm

Michigan Capitol, March 22, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

After unanimous approval from both the House and Senate, a bill that would shield rights for Michigan’s licensed professional counselors (LPCs) working with mental health patients is headed to the governor’s desk. 

In August, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) proposed a rule that would deny the right to diagnose patients and use psychotherapy. 

House Bill 4325, introduced by state Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), passed the Senate on Thursday. If signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, it will supersede any rules put forth by LARA. The governor’s office did not return a request for comment by the time of publication.

“We need more licensed professionals who are willing to be advocates for everyone, of all ages,” state Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) said in a statement. “I hope the passage of this legislation today serves as a catalyst for more of these types of conversations, and I stand ready to continue the important work of improving access to mental health services in our state.”

According to the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association (MMHCA), this bill protects up to 150,000 clients who would have been without services under LARA’s proposed changes. The MMHCA also states the changes would have impacted 10,000 licensed professional counselors in Michigan.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.