|Due to the collaborative and robust advocacy efforts of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals (TAAP), the Association of Substance Abuse Programs (ASAP), RecoveryPeople and Spread Hope Like Fire, changes have made their way to the Texas Legislature. These efforts allowed us to engage counselors, providers, peer specialists and recovery advocates. Sherri Layton, LCDC, CCS recently updated La Hacienda’s staff about the legislative impact in this year’s session that affects the addiction treatment industry.
Below are bills that have been passed by the Texas House and Senate and have been signed by the Governor Greg Abbott:
HB 3083 – add Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors (LCDC) to the state’s existing loan repayment program for mental health professionals.
HB 10 – Parity Enforcement – requires the Texas Department of Insurance to regulate parity compliance for most health plans in Texas including non-quantitative treatment limits; establishes a Behavioral Health Access to Care Ombudsman at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC); Creates a Parity Stakeholder Workgroup at the HHSC to work on Mental Health / Substance Use Disorder parity issues and requires the study and reporting of data related to parity status.
HB 1486 – Peer Specialists – Codifies Peer Recovery Specialist in HHSC rules, clarifies roles and establishes payment under Medicaid
HB 2818 – determines the authority of diagnosing within the scope of practice for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT), Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), Social Workers (SW), and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors (LCDC)
Bills that “ran out of time” and have died:
HB 442 – remove home addresses from online registry of licensed counselors
HB 2898 – would create Behavioral Health Executive Council to oversee all the behavioral health counselor licenses
HB 640 – relates to regulation of halfway houses
Bills that did not move beyond Committee assignment, meaning no action will be taken in this legislative session:
HB 3408 – added 6 hours of suicide prevention training to all counselor Continuing Education requirements
HB 90 – would add a $60 fine to offenses above a class C misdemeanor, the additional fines would fund drug courts
HB 1981 – relating to the consideration of criminal history record information of applicants for public employment or an occupational license
To track bills and for more information go to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/BillNumber.aspx.