I wish to take a few sentences to give a shout out to all the sturdy and resilient FMHCA members who took to the front lines and made themselves available to all who were in need of comfort, connection, and care to evacuees, first responders, and other volunteers while Irma was making her way into Florida. And to the many who have friends and family in Puerto Rico, may comfort, peace, and resilience arrive in the greatest abundance.
That Mental Health Counselors remain excluded from Medicare all the more reason to continue hammering the dire need for FMHCA members to get involved in all efforts to get Florida’s congressmen on board with HR 3032, the one bill that when passed will place MHC’s on the roles of Mental Health providers for Medicare. Let me emphasize a most cogent point:
Among the 24 co-sponsors of HR 3032, not one of those is a Florida Congressman. You have to scratch your head and ask why. Why, when Florida has the 14th highest suicide rate among elders in the country. We are 49th in what is spent on Mental Health Services. And of the total number of mental health providers in this state, Medicare recipients have access to less than a third of that total. This is unacceptable.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Spend half your time comforting the afflicted, and the other half afflicting the comfortable. A week ago, I posted a letter template with these numbers on the FMHCA Facebook page, requesting each constituent to contact your congressman to co-sponsor HR3032. The membership has been provided with contact information of each congressman. This is serious stuff, folks and if we expect to be included in Medicare, then we need to do more than just complain about it.
Imprint HR3032 in your consciousness. Think Medicare. Think about the underserved. Get on the phone, talk to people.
Get the word out there. Grass Roots Gets It Done!
And speaking of Grass Roots, a big fat shout out to Regional Director Joe Skelly and the huge waves he is generating with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Read about his correspondence, and moreover, his strategy to deploy counter measures to their efforts to reduce reimbursement on the meat and potatoes services we provide.
Also, a shout out to Dr. Tania Diaz who bagged a sponsor for the FMHCA Conference in February. Huahh!
And while we’re at it, we would be highly remiss if we did not acknowledge with great pride Ellsworth “Tony” Williams, who is head of FMHCA Military Service Committee. While balancing his separate roles as committee chair and that of President and CEO of Veterans Counseling Veterans, Tony and his VCV volunteers continue to make inroads among key Veteran Organizations and the VA through providing expertise on suicide prevention and support for survivors of Warrior Suicide. We cannot thank you enough, Tony, for your inspiring work.
Remember to get yourselves signed up for the February, 2018 Conference. We need sponsors. Surely each and every one of us is connected to a potential donor.
Louise Sutherland-Hoyt, LMHC, CCMHC, NCC, MAC
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