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Legislative Advocacy
  • Friday, May 17, 2024 2:23 PM | Ashley VanBemmelen (Administrator)

    Please Sponsor H.R. 7924 - Access in Mental Health Act

    As a licensed professional counselor, counselor educator, behavioral health professional, member of ACES, and a constituent, please ask your representative to consider cosponsoring H.R. 7924, the Advancing Culturally Competent and Equitable and Supportive Services in Mental Health Act or Access in Mental Health Act. 

    This important legislation would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by creating a new grant program to support graduate behavioral health programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges, and other minority-serving institutions by: 

    • Providing grants of $10,000 to students who are pursuing a graduate degree in counseling, psychiatry, school-based mental health professions, psychology, psychiatry or substance use disorder prevention treatment at a minority-serving institution. 
    • Providing grants to HBCUs, tribal colleges, and other minority-serving institutions that can be used for the purpose of establishing, expanding, or improving their graduate programs in the mental health professions. 

    Go to this link to fill out the Voter Voice response which can then send a message directly to your US Representative.

    Action Center (

  • Saturday, January 14, 2023 10:00 AM | Ashley VanBemmelen (Administrator)

    The American Counseling Association is here to keep us informed about the new legislation regarding Medicare and it's implementation prior to January of 2024.

    Please view ACA's FAQ document!

  • Saturday, December 24, 2022 5:26 PM | Ashley VanBemmelen (Administrator)

    *Notice from the American Counseling Association*

    For over a decade, the American Counseling Association and its partner organizations have advocated for the successful passage of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/H.R. 432). Although this bill has previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, it has never passed both at the same time. Today we can say that this monumental legislation has passed in both chambers and is on its way to President Biden to be signed into law.

    The Mental Health Access Improvement Act will close the gap in federal law that prevents licensed professional counselors from being recognized as Medicare providers. The legislation is expected to give Medicare beneficiaries immediate access to more than 225,000 additional licensed mental health professionals and to help close the widening treatment gap.

    We could not have done this on our own! First, we would like to thank our bill sponsors — Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) and John Katko (R-NY-24) and Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) — for their leadership and support. We recognize that the passage of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act is the result of many compromises and steadfast hard work by our sponsors and their staff members. As such, we urge them to remain diligent in their efforts to further support this legislation on its journey to the White House and, ultimately, into law.

    We would also like to thank our advocacy partners, especially the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition, whose mission has been to strengthen Medicare beneficiaries’ access to mental and behavioral health care and to help build the provider workforce by forming relationships with congressional offices and galvanizing constituents.

    To our ACA member advocates, it was your tireless advocacy work through the years — from marching up to Capitol Hill to sending messages to congressional leaders through our Take Action web page — that helped to push this bill over the finish line. This is truly a result of your labor and unwavering support.

    Although we have achieved a hard-fought victory, we still have more work to do. The intent of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act is to increase access to mental health services for the Medicare population, and at ACA, we will make sure it does as it was intended by working hand in hand with the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services and with congressional leaders to create a more accessible pathway to behavioral health services for those in need.

  • Friday, December 16, 2022 3:59 PM | Ashley VanBemmelen (Administrator)

    *Notice from the American Counseling Association*

    Urgent! The nation continues to face an enduring mental health crisis. We need a solution now! The House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over mental health have been working on legislation all year which would reauthorize critical programs surrounding greater access to mental health services, such as the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S.828/HR 432)

    But this legislation will not get enacted unless it is part of the end of the year Congressional package. It is critical that the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S.828/HR 432) is part of the end of year spending package which would help close the current mental health coverage gap and provide access to quality mental health services. 

    We need your help NOW to make sure Congress prioritizes mental health in the end of the year package. Contact your member of Congress - specifically, Republican members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce - today! 

    Visit the ACA TAKE ACTION page to contact your legislators and let them know how crucial passage of the Mental Health Access Improvement will be to millions of Americans.  

  • Tuesday, September 06, 2022 12:59 PM | Ashley VanBemmelen (Administrator)

    2022 Counseling Compact Legislative Summit

    Virtual Event | September 20th and 22nd


    The Counseling Compact legislative summit is a virtual event to showcase the compact and its value for counseling professionals, clients and state workforce strategies. Attendees will learn about the benefits of interstate compacts, the features of the counseling compact and examples of successful state efforts to pass compact legislation.


    Interested attendees will have the option to join either on September 20th (1 - 4 p.m. ET) or September 22nd (10 a.m. - 1 p.m. ET). Each day will consist of the same programming.


    The legislative summit will take place over Zoom. All attendees must register in advance.

    Sign up for the September 20 option here:

    Sign up for the September 22 option here:

    Who should attend?

    Those interested in their state joining the counseling compact, including:

    • Governor’s Office Policy Staff
    • State Legislators and Staff
    • Legislative Research Staff
    • State Licensing Board Members and Administrators
    • Counseling Professionals and Professional Association Members


    Please visit or contact

  • Wednesday, March 23, 2022 2:04 PM | Ashley VanBemmelen (Administrator)

    The Counseling Compact is an interstate compact, or a contract among states, allowing professional counselors licensed and residing in a compact member state to practice in other compact member states without the need for multiple licenses.

    We now have four states signed on to the Counseling Compact - Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Maryland. The MCA will continue to work with state legislators to pass this critical legislation!

  • Friday, January 28, 2022 11:26 AM | Ashley VanBemmelen (Administrator)

    The American Counseling Association’s Public Policy team asked me to encourage all of you to reach out to Senator Stabenow to ask her for support for the Medicare bill this Congressional session. The bill is S. 828, and it allows for professional counselors to be able to independently panel with Medicare clients. The U.S Senate Finance Committee is currently preparing the Mental Health Package, so it is imperative that we reach out to her now. Senator Stabenow is a co-sponsor of this bill, which also makes it even more important that we reach out! Feel free to use these facts, amongst others, in your email to Senator Stabenow:

    ACA Talking Points

    The ACA also indicated that the following talking points will be important to include as well:

    • Thanking her and demonstrating support for S. 2069, which is the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act.
    • Asking her to seriously consider S. 828 to support access to Mental Health Care to Michigan’s most vulnerable seniors, and the disabled.
    • Asking her to make S. 828 a priority.
    • Thanking her for her continued advocacy and support with her Senate Colleagues on S. 828.

    Hopefully this helps solidify the message that you all will hopefully convey to her! We made ALL of our voices heard with HB 4325, so let’s do the same with this. Feel free to use the below email link, or reach out to her in other ways that you may find:


    With Regards,

    Michael Joy

    Past President

Michigan Counseling Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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