March 5, 2014

CALPCC Member Update
March 5, 2014

Registration for CALPCC’s 2014 Southern California Conference is now available on the CALPCC website. Space is limited, so register soon.

Read more about the Conference and register link

April 12, 2014, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hosted by Pepperdine University
West Los Angeles Graduate Campus
6100 Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045
near the LAX

Message from the President, Sarah Kremer

Now that the rain has finally arrived to our dry land, I am looking forward to having an abundance of water through the rest of the spring, even though we may be operating in a state of drought. As I write these words, I’m thinking of the state of our organization, CALPCC, too. As a new membership-based organization, we are constantly seeking more nourishment to help us grow. So, we are approaching the spring with the intention of bringing in more of what we need to flourish – members, resources, and support.

And we intend to keep our members flourishing, too! We are very pleased to announce that registration is open for our inaugural conference. Please join us in Southern California for the first CALPCC conference. For those of you in Northern California, start getting ready for our second conference this fall. We hope to be send out details in the next several months.

Finally, an update about our Board membership: our President-Elect, Heather Danilovics, has resigned from her position. We wish her well in her future endeavors and thank her for her hard work over the last several years, serving as Chair of the Insurance Committee and in her role as President-Elect.

For this reason, when you see the Call for Nominations for the 2014-2015 Board of Directors on April 1, you’ll notice that will be electing a President as well as President-Elect. The President will be fulfilling the vacant position, serving in the role for one year and then moving to Past-President. The President-Elect, which is open for election every year, is a three-year term. Both of these positions require at least one year’s experience on the Board of Directors.

If you have any interest in serving as a Board Director, we will have several of these positions open, too. The Call for Nominations is also the time to get involved in committee work, too – we rely on our members for support so we can deliver benefits back to you. Please be thinking about your expertise and interest. If you have any questions about committee work or opportunities, please contact us for more information.

Happy spring everyone!

Message from the Executive Director, Dean Porter

Good News! The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has sent a notice to County Mental Health Directors and Alcohol and Drug Program Administrators that provides additional information about LPCCs as providers of Medi-Cal specialty mental health services. This notice is what many of the counties have been waiting for in order to hire LPCCs or PCCIs.

The notice specifies that LPCCs may provide Targeted Case Management, Mental Health Services, Day Treatment Intensive, Day Rehabilitation, Crisis Intervention, Crisis Stabilization, Adult Residential, Crisis Residential, and Psychiatric Health Facility services, consistent with the scope of practice requirements and when all other requirements for service delivery are met. LPCCs may provide these services as Mental Health Provider (MPH) employees, as MHP contracted individual providers, or as employees of MHP contracted organizational providers. LPCCs may direct services, act as clinical team leaders and sign client plans.

The notice indicates that LPCCs cannot treat couples or families unless the LPCC has completed additional training and education and the MHPs are responsible for verifying and ensuring that the LPCC has met these requirements, when providing services for which the additional training and education is required. Regulations, which the BBS is currently developing, will facilitate counties in checking the completion of these requirements. See the January 24, 2014 CALPCC Update.

Counties are encouraged to work with their human resources departments to determine the proper county job classifications in which to hire LPCCs and the extent to which they may require the additional training and education as a condition of employment. DHCS has determined that the provider taxonomy code 101YM0800X (classification: counselor”/specialization: “Mental Health) aligns with the definition of a LPCC.

Read the DHCS notice (Link)

Mental Health Loan Assumption Program (MHLAP)

Be sure to stop by the MHLAP booth at the CALPCC SoCal Conference on April 12th to speak with a representative of this program.

MHLAP was created by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) to provide funding to develop a loan forgiveness program in order to retain qualified professionals working within the Public Mental Health System (PMHS). An award recipient may receive up to $10,000 to repay educational loans in exchange for a 12-month service obligation in a hard-to-fill or retain position within the County PMHS. Counties determine which professions are eligible for their County’s hard-to-fill or retain positions. Eligible professions do include LPCCs and PCCIs. The 2014 application is not available yet, but information is found on the Health Professions Education Foundation website: link

The need to advocate for LPCCs to be included in Department of Veterans Affairs training:

On February 25, 2014 the U.S. Senate began consideration of S. 1982, the “Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014”. This bill contains a provision that would mandate that the Department of Veterans Affairs provide training for Licensed Professional Counselors.

Currently, LPCs are not fully integrated into the VA’s training program, putting them at a distinct disadvantage. The VA’s training programs have been proven to be a pathway to permanent employment in the Department. By excluding LPCs, the VA has created another barrier for employment and is keeping qualified mental health professionals from helping our veterans at a time when they need it most.

Contact your U.S. Senators today and tell them they need to stand up for our veterans and for counselors. Ask them to support S. 1982!

Click the link below to log in and send your message: link

Insurance Corner from the CALPCC Insurance Committee

Q: How much time do I have to file an insurance claim from the date I see a client?

A: Each insurance company sets its MAXIMUM timeframe for receipt of claims. The State of California Department Of Managed Health Care regulations set the MINIMUM timeframe for receipt of claims. Contracted providers and non-contracted providers may have different timeframes. For contracted providers the minimum is 90 calendar days from date of service and for non-contracted providers it is 180 calendar days from date of service. Receipt of claim date, not date claim filed is crucial. If you are mailing claims it could take a week for the insurance company to actually mark the claim as received. When filing electronically, the date of receipt is determined by the date the claim is acknowledged as received by the insurance company, not date submitted to the clearinghouse. A majority of insurance companies use the 90 or 180 days minimum as their maximum. The best way to avoid denied claims is to submit claims immediately and to file claims electronically. Always keep proof of timely filing until the claim is paid.

Proof of timely filing requirements:
Snail mail requires USPS delivery confirmation
Fax requires successful transmission report
Electronic submissions require proof of timely filing from the clearing house (EDI) which are usually easily obtained through the billing software used.

Ethics Corner from the CALPCC Ethics Committee

Q: My intern checked information about her client on Facebook. The intern learned what she had suspected for a while. Her client has been drinking although denying the fact of drinking during sessions. The intern has not communicated her findings to the client and at this point feels uncomfortable communicating this information, as she feels that the client may think that his “therapist is spying on him.” What ethical issues should I, as a supervisor, address with my supervisee?

A: Because Facebook info is easily accessible and constitutes public info, it is not considered unethical to receive information from Facebook or any social media source.

However, while it technically may not be considered unethical, because of other factors that can complicate the action, it lands in a “gray zone.”

The issue of boundary, which is an ethical issue, can be an issue in this situation. Counselors are encouraged to treat their clients with utmost honesty and trustworthiness. Clinical issues including the dynamics of client-therapist relationships should be evaluated while the following ethical codes should be kept in mind.

Q. By checking Facebook without client’s awareness, does the counselor respect client’s dignity and promote client’s welfare?

ACA Code: A.1.a. Primary Responsibility: The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.

Other questions to explore under this code:

Q. What is the counselor’s motivation? Why is it done without client’s permission/awareness? Is it really done to respect client’s dignity and promote his welfare?

Q. How comfortable do you, the counselor, feel to respectfully ask, “Bob, we have been meeting for several weeks now, and I’m concerned. All the signs are present that you might still be drinking. Have you relapsed? Are you struggling with trying to stay sober?”

Q. What is the level of trust between client and counselor? Trust is the cornerstone of the therapeutic relationship that promotes client’s dignity and promotes client’s welfare. Where is the answer to this question?
Read more…. CP, please post the above and the following as the first article in the Ethics Corner on the Members Only page

Q. Was checking Facebook part of counseling activity/services provided (assessment, treatment planning and such)? While checking facebook, did the counselor act in her professional capacity?

In their article on legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of social media in counseling, Kaplan, Wade, Conteh, and Martz (2011) ask, “So what are some recommended best practices for setting appropriate boundaries surrounding the use of social media in counseling?” The authors refer to Kolmes (2009) and state, “All of the ideas that follow focus on one concept: Clearly define when you are using social media in your professional capacity” (Kaplan, Wade, Conteh, & Martz, 2011, p.6).

Q. If client acted in the professional capacity, did she document her activity (of checking Facebook)?
ACA Code: A.1.b. Records: Counselors take reasonable steps to ensure that documentation in records accurately reflects client progress and services provided.

Q. Did the counselor explain the nature of services provided (that services included checking Facebook)?

ACA Code: A.2.b. Types of Information Needed: Counselors explicitly explain to clients the nature of all services provided. They inform clients about issues such as, but not limited to, the following: the purposes, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks, and benefits of services; the counselor’s qualifications, credentials, and relevant experience; continuation of services upon the incapacitation or death of a counselor; and other pertinent information.

Q. Was checking Facebook part of a joint effort to support client?

ACA Code: A.1.c. Counseling Plans: Counselors and their clients work jointly in devising integrated counseling plans that offer reasonable promise of success and are consistent with abilities and circumstances of clients?

Q. By checking client’s Facebook, did the counselor keep in mind the importance of avoiding harm?

ACA Code: A.4.a. Avoiding Harm: Counselors act to avoid harming their clients, trainees, and research participants and to minimize or to remedy unavoidable or unanticipated harm.

Q. Is the counselor/supervisee aware of her feelings and values in terms of checking social media information about her clients without their awareness? Is there counter-transference that this counselor should further evaluate?

ACA Code: A 4.b. Personal Values: Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants.

To access information on legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of social media in counseling, CALPCC members are encouraged to check ACA website: link

Kaplan, D. M., Wade, M. E., Conteh, J. A., & Martz, E. T. (2011). Legal and Ethical Issues Surrounding the Use of Social Media in Counseling. Counseling and Human Development, 48 (8), 1-12.