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Support mental health professionals in Iowa

This petition had 2,189 supporters

Attention people of Iowa, on behalf of mental health professionals, we need your help! I am a Temporary Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Tuesday, a bill was introduced to the Iowa House (HSB 138). This bill proposes that mental health professionals such as Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors (LMHC), and Marital and Family Therapists (LMFT) would no longer be allowed to be licensed to practice in the State of Iowa. HSB 138 is an act relating to certain state regulations, including certificate of need requirements, the practice of certain professions, and the oversight of state preserves, and including effective date and transition provisions. The damage this would do to the integrity of the profession and to the services provided by mental health providers in this state would be HUGE. There would be less of an oversight to investigate unprofessional conduct and protection of clients. Insurances would not reimburse, therefore, those who cannot afford to pay out of pocket for services, will go unserved. In addition to the mental health field already being under paid, it would become even lower due to the dismantling of licensure and decrease the number of providers in our state. If you or your family members are either mental health providers or receive services, please support adequate access to mental health in the state of Iowa by signing this petition, as well as, calling Governor Bradstand's office: (515) 281-5211 and ask him to stop this bill!

The following are reasons to oppose HSB 138:

1.      Threat to safety of public health: If the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science (involved in the oversight of the practice of LMFTs and LMHCs, licensure requirements, and ethical conduct) is dismissed we will find a significant increase in threat to public safety. As it stands the IBBS:

-Evaluates the qualifications of applicants for licensure and grants licenses to those who qualify.

-Establishes rules and regulations to ensure the integrity and competence of licensed Mental Health Counselors and Marital and Family Therapists

-Investigates complaints for unprofessional conduct, for example:

o   Sexual misconduct

o   Fraudulent practice

o   Legal misconduct impacting ability to practice

-Lastly, IBBS is the link between the consumer and the licensed Mental Health Counselor and Marital and Family Therapist and, as such, promotes the public health, welfare and safety.

2.      Marriage and Family Therapy, Mental Health Counseling, and Social Work are 3 of the 5 core mental health professions recognized by the federal government. Without licensure there would be profound and lasting impact on the mental health of Iowans. Without licensure, these mental health clinicians will not be able to accept insurance, including Tricare and Medicaid. The impact of being dropped from insurance panels are widespread:

-The impact of only providing a fee-for-service option would leave thousands of Iowans underserved. This leads to increased financial cost burden on the system when mental health issues arise to crisis and requirement of inpatient mental health care is imminent. In short, accepting insurance makes mental health care affordable and decreases need for higher levels of care with regular access to therapy.

-Thousands of small-business owners would have to close their doors as clients’ use of insurance is the primary means of reimbursement for services.

3.      Enacting HSB 138 would negate the “residency” level of training for mental health clinicians in Iowa know as temporary licensure. The IBBS has specifically outlined stringent requirements that recent master’s level graduates must meet before they are deemed qualified to practice without supervision under a senior clinician. These requirements include the following: 3000 hours of practice in 2 years post-grad with an additional 200 hours of direct case consultation.

4.      Marriage and Family Therapists are licensed in all 50 states. Our current licensure affords us the ability to maintain similar standards with other states and attract new residents knowing they can continue to practice their profession in Iowa.

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Amber Runkel needs your help with “Bobby Kaufmann: Support mental health professionals in Iowa”. Join Amber and 2,188 supporters today.