With Governor Cooper’s signature on NC Senate Bill 537, some behavioral health providers will change the letters behind their name. For Cox Family Wellness Systems, this means that we will change from LPC (Licensed Professional Counselors) to LCMHC (Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors).
The purpose of this law is to update the rules that govern the behavioral health professions in NC. The name of the profession changes on 01 January 2020 to clarify what counselors do. The name change also prepares the ground for the future of service provision.
First, the name change highlights that LCMHCs provide clinical services to people with mental health concerns. This change spotlights both the clinical aspects of diagnosing and treating health concerns, as well as the focus on the mental health of service consumers.
Second, the name change prepares the profession for future expansions to care for people with disabilities and advanced age. Counselors cannot bill Medicare. Aligning the name with the one used by most states simplifies the push for Medicare recognition. The future of mental health service provision includes the use of technology. Telehealth and internet-assisted counseling may only be available when the client and the counselor are in the state where the counselor is licensed. Counseling across state lines is generally not allowed by law.
While this law does allow a name change, it does not change training requirements or scope of practice. LCMHCs earn a Masters Degree in a counseling specialty, adhere to a code of ethics, and engage in continuing education throughout their career. Going forward, you can expect to receive the same high level of care from your current counselor.
Let us know if you have any questions about this name change and what it means for you.