March 18, 2021

Licensed according to Article 163 of the NYS Education Law, the professions of mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, and psychoanalysis have been fully serving care recipients in New York for decades. In June 22, 2021, any new licensed practitioner will not be permitted to diagnose patients in OMH, OASAS, OCFS or OPWDD settings.
Those currently working at your agency can apply to the State Education Department to continue performing their full scope of practice, but critical staff who are part of the pipeline for our future workforce will be cut off from performing their full scope of practice in New York. The bottleneck in diagnosing new patients and attesting to their medical necessity for Medicaid services will grind to a halt creating a significant access to care emergency.  We need everyone to please call your lawmakers, make a strong request for assistance that would rectify this situation, and then share with him/her the language (attached) that we are urging be included in the final budget agreement!  


Once you locate their contact information please call your representatives  (preferably their Albany office) to discuss the situation.

Here’s a potential script for the dialogue with your lawmaker: 
As of July 1, 2020, the NYS Education Department reports that there are 10,647 licensed mental health practitioners working around the state. These include family therapists, mental health counselors and psychoanalysts licensed by SED. Without these practitioners, my agency cannot function. They work side by side with licensed social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists, and as allowed by law, they are permitted the “use of assessment instruments and mental health counseling and psychotherapy to identify, evaluate and treat dysfunctions and disorders for purposes of providing appropriate mental health counseling services.

Because the words in this law are “identify and evaluate” and not “diagnose” some feel the scope of practice of these licensed practitioners does not allow them to diagnose patients, even though they have been doing so for decades in New York; and despite the fact that every other state contiguous to New York does not limit their scope of practice.”

Optional talking point for Article 163 practitioners:
“As a licensed practitioner, I went to graduate school, took classes on diagnostic practice and instruments, spent thousands of clinical hours under the supervision of other licensed practitioners who confirmed my abilities and took a test licensing me to use assessment instruments, like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) to evaluate and identify needs. This bill will amend the education law, in relation to requirements for licensure of certain mental health practitioners and providing certain mental health practitioners authority to give diagnosis.

Mental health practitioners work hard in a severely understaffed field and we urge that you help us avoid a staffing crisis by making passage of this legislation a priority as early in this 2021 Legislative Session as possible.”

Please make your calls today and share the language (below file to download) that you are requesting be included in the final budget agreement.