We are asking that each counselor CALL (not email) Senators Debbie Stabenow at (202) 224-4822 and Carl Levin (202) 224-6221 at their offices and discuss these bills. Below are some talking points that could easily be adapted to either bill for when you call:
- I am calling today to ask that the Senator support bills 1155 and 562, which would direct the VA to provide stipends to Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists that are part of the VA’s training program and provide counselors access to Medicare.
- Currently those trainees do not receive stipends and they are the only disciplines that do not receive stipends. This obviously leads to having less counselors enter the VA workforce and less mental health clinicians in the VA workforce overall.
- Counselors are currently denied the ability to bill Medicare and this status in the profession is discriminatory based on our training and credentials.
- I know that ACA’s lobbyists have visited with you about this before, and so you know how important this issue is and we also know that the Senator is completely dedicated to getting veterans and seniors the mental health care that they deserve.
- Could we count on the Congressman introducing a bill that would compel the VA to fully integrate our trainees or supporting counselors' access to Medicare?