May 2024

Florida is currently confronted with a pressing mental health and substance abuse crisis, with an acute demand for qualified practitioners.

Current State

At present, Chapter 65D-30.0046(3) & (4) of the Florida Administrative Code permits individuals possessing a bachelor’s degree and certification from The Florida Certification Board in addiction (Certified Addiction Professional) or mental health (Certified Mental Health Professional) to administer behavioral health treatment under the supervision of a qualified professional.

These certified bachelor’s degree-level providers are eligible to seek reimbursement from their local
Managing Entity. However, they encounter limitations in receiving reimbursement from Medicaid,
despite often rendering services to Medicaid recipients. This predicament leaves a segment of
individuals untreated, as these providers cannot receive payment for individual and family
counseling services.

It is noteworthy that Medicaid does authorize bachelor’s level practitioners and Certified Addiction
Professionals to deliver Behavioral Health Group Therapy services, as stipulated in the Medicaid
Behavioral Health Therapy Services Coverage Policy.

Desired Outcome

To address the gap in coverage, we propose the inclusion of bachelor’s-degree level providers
holding a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) or a Certified Mental Health Professional (CMHP)
credential as eligible providers of Behavioral Health Individual and Family Therapy services within
the Medicaid Behavioral Health Therapy Services Coverage Policy. This addition would not only
expand access to crucial mental health services but also better align Medicaid reimbursement
policies with the current landscape of behavioral health care in Florida.

Impact

We advocate for the urgent inclusion of the behavioral health workforce to promptly address the
individual and family therapy requirements of Medicaid recipients. This expansion strategy entails
leveraging the existing certified population, currently comprising 3,500 individuals certified by the Florida Certification Board (FCB). Moreover, we propose the swift augmentation of the pool of
bachelor’s-degreed level providers eligible to attain the Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) or
Certified Mental Health Professional (CMHP) credentials. By broadening the scope of individual and
family therapy services available to Medicaid recipients, including the expansion of group therapy
services, we aim to enhance access to essential mental health care.

This initiative is poised not only to bolster the quantity of available services but also to elevate the
quality of care provided to individuals grappling with behavioral health conditions, facilitated by
certified behavioral health professionals. Furthermore, this endeavor promises to establish a viable
career progression pathway for individuals aspiring to pursue counseling as a profession—an
imperative in addressing the burgeoning demand for mental health services in Florida.

Key Points

  • No impact on the current scope of practice; bachelor’s level providers already deliver
  • individual, family, and group counseling.
  • Immediate workforce expansion and increased client reach through Medicaid reimbursement
  • for certified professionals.

Recommendation

We recommend that the Agency for Health Care Administration amend section 3.2 of the November
2019 Behavioral Health Therapy Services Coverage Policy to add bachelor’s degree level Certified
Addiction Professionals (CAPs) and Certified Mental Health Professionals (CMHPs) as eligible
providers who can deliver individual (including family) and group therapy.

Call to Action

To advocate for this critical change and provide support to our community grappling with mental
health challenges, we urge you to reach out to Governor DeSantis. Your communication can
emphasize the necessity of amending section 3.2 of the November 2019 Behavioral Health Therapy
Services Coverage Policy to incorporate bachelor’s degree level Certified Addiction Professionals
(CAPs) and Certified Mental Health Professionals (CMHPs) as eligible providers for individual
(including family) and group therapy services.

This change not only enhances access to vital mental health care but also ensures financial
reimbursement for professionals delivering these essential services. Your engagement can play a
pivotal role in effecting positive change and better-supporting individuals in need within our
community. (Download this post as a flyer)

Copy/paste this letter

Dear Governor DeSantis,

I am writing to bring to your attention a pressing matter regarding mental health care access in our state and to request your support in implementing a much-needed policy change.

As you are aware, Florida is currently facing a significant challenge in meeting the mental health needs of our community. Despite the dedicated efforts of many professionals, there remains a critical gap in access to individual and family therapy services, particularly for Medicaid recipients. This issue is exacerbated by the limited reimbursement options available for qualified providers essential in delivering these vital services.

To address this challenge, please consider amending section 3.2 of the November 2019 Behavioral Health Therapy Services Coverage Policy. Specifically, I propose the inclusion of bachelor’s degree-level Certified Addiction Professionals (CAPs) and Certified Mental Health Professionals (CMHPs) as eligible providers for individual, family, and group therapy services. Having AHCA make this change would enhance access to essential mental health care and ensure financial reimbursement for professionals delivering these critical services. Additionally, this will create a career and workforce ladder for people working in mental health systems.

By making this policy change, we can take significant strides towards closing the gap in mental health care access and improving outcomes for individuals living with mental health challenges in our state. Furthermore, this change will contribute to the establishment of a more robust and inclusive mental health care system that prioritizes the well-being of all Floridians.

Governor DeSantis, I urge you to consider the profound impact this small policy change could have on the lives of countless individuals and families across our state. Your support in championing this cause is crucial in ensuring that every Floridian has access to the mental health and substance use care they need.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your support in making this much-needed policy change a reality.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

You can copy the above letter and email Governor DeSantis