Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer signs bipartisan bill protecting mental health counselors, patients

By: - October 29, 2019 1:27 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs legislation allowing licensed counselors to diagnose patients in Michigan, Oct. 29, 2019 | Gov. Whitmer photo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law on Tuesday a bipartisan bill that will update the scope of practice for Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in Michigan and allow them to continue diagnosing and treating patients. 

“This new law will ensure that more than 150,000 Michiganders can still access critical mental health care,” said Whitmer. “And it will protect 10,000 professional counselors from losing the ability to practice as they currently do. We must continue to work hard to ensure every Michigander has access to critical mental health care, and this is a step in the right direction.” 

House Bill 4325, sponsored by state Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), passed unanimously through both chambers of the Michigan Legislature earlier this month.

Bill protecting licensed professional counselors heads to Whitmer’s desk

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

The bill clarifies that an LPC can practice without supervision and can supervise a limited licensed counselor once they have completed required regulation set by LARA. The department also may implement rules necessary to supplement licensing requirements.

With Whitmer’s signature, this law supersedes any rules put forth by LARA.

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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.

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