Colorado State Legislative Issues

The Colorado Counseling Association is actively monitoring and engaging advocacy efforts to promote the mental health profession and those we serve.

During the legislative term, members of CCA receive a weekly Public Policy and Legislative (PP&L) Newsletter containing progress reports on current events taking place at the State and Federal level during the legislative session each year and pertinent updates the rest of the year.

Mental Health Sunset, 2018-2020

Beginning in 2018, the CCA began preparing for the 2020 Colorado Mental Health Sunset. During the sunset review, the Colorado legislature reviews all mental health state statutes. During the Mental Health Sunset, which occurs every ten years, the CCA was committed to review and subsequently make recommendations, specifically on Title 12, Article 245, Part 6 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS 12.245.6), supporting professional counselors in Colorado.Statute recommendations may include repealing the statute, altering or revising it, or maintaining it in its entirety.

Additionally, the CCA formed a Mental Health Sunset Committee to review CRS 12.245.6. This committee made recommendations to the Mental Health Sunset Coalition, a collaborative effort by several mental health professional associations to represent mental health professionals during the sunset review. In partnership with the CCA, the Mental Health Sunset Coalition will advocate for the mental health profession during the sunset review.

The sunset review is extremely important to the mental health profession in Colorado, as these statutes inform and govern how you practice. More than ever, your support as a CCA member directly impacts our profession in meaningful ways.  The CCA was honored to engage this important legislative season on your behalf.

 


 

Current State Advocacy Efforts

2020 Mental Health Sunset (HB20-1206)

The Colorado Mental Health Sunset occurs once every 10 years. DORA defines the mental health sunset as "a periodic assessment of state boards, programs, and functions to determine whether they should be continued by the legislature. Sunset reviews focus on creating the least restrictive form of regulation consistent with protecting the public. In formulating recommendations, sunset reviews consider the public's right to consistent, high quality professional or occupational services and the ability of businesses to exist and thrive in a competitive market, free from unnecessary regulation."

Since late 2018, the CCA has been spearheading the effort to advocate for professional counselors in this legislative process.

On July 14th, 2020, Governor Polis signed the Mental Health Practice Act into law. Below is a summary of how LPCs and LPCCs will be effected.

Mental Health Sunrise

Following each legislative sunset is a sunrise process. During the sunrise process, DORA initiates stakeholder meetings to determine the rules, policies, and implementation plan for each changed outlined in the sunset. DORA is scheduled to begin this process on July 30th, 2020.

 The CCA does not expect clear regulatory statutes for many of the changes HB20-1206 has brought until late fall 2020.

DORA has issued a draft of the rules. This draft can be downloaded by clicking here.


Registered Psychotherapists
  • As of July 15th, 2020, DORA ceased accepting applications for the Registered Psychotherapist designation. Current Registered Psychotherapists may maintain their designation, but under the new title Unlicensed Psychotherapist. These individuals must immediately adjust all business cards, websites, etc. to reflect this new title. New applications for this designation have been suspended indefinitely.
Post-Degree Clinical Hours
  • The implementation date of this new law has not yet been determined. For now, LPCs and LPCCs are encouraged to practice as normal.
  • LPCCs working towards licensure must now separate their 2,000 post-degree clinical hours. Of their 2,000 hours, a minimum of 75% of those hours (1,500) must be direct clinical service hours. Of their 2,000 hours, a maximum of 25% of those (500) can be indirect hours.
  • HB20-1206 reads, "HAS AT LEAST TWO THOUSAND HOURS OF PRACTICE IN COUNSELING, INCLUDING AT LEAST ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED HOURS OF FACE-TO-FACE DIRECT CLIENT CONTACT UNDER CLINICAL SUPERVISION THAT IS IN-PERSON OR IS TELESUPERVISION."
Licensed Professional Counselor - Supervisor
  • The CCA has a unique page dedicated to the LPC-S. Please follow this link to access that page.
  • The implementation date of this new law has not yet been determined. For now, LPCs and LPCCs are encouraged to practice as normal.  
  • The LPC-S is a new designation for Colorado. LPCs will no longer be able to supervise a LPCC towards licensure. The 100 post-degree clinical supervisory hours will be required to conducted with an LPC-S. Note: LCSWs, LACs, LMFTs, and Licensed Psychologists will still be able to provide clinical supervision to LPCCs.
  • HB20-1206 reads, "CLINICAL SUPERVISION" MEANS SUPERVISION PROVIDED BY A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR SUPERVISOR, LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST, LICENSED MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST, LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER, OR LICENSED ADDICTION COUNSELOR."
Mandatory Disclosure
  • The CCA recommends counselors implement this requirement immediately.
  • Mental health professional's mandatory disclosures must disclose to clients that medical records may not be maintained after seven years.
  • HB20-1206 reads, "A STATEMENT INDICATING THAT A CLIENT'S RECORDS MAY NOT BE MAINTAINED AFTER SEVEN YEARS PURSUANT TO SECTION 12-245-226 (1)(a)(II)(A)."
Clinical Supervision Definition
  • The implementation date of this new law has not yet been determined. For now, LPCs and LPCCs are encouraged to practice as normal.  
  • A new definition of clinical supervision was written, with the specific intention of preventing administrative supervision from being considered clinical supervision.
  • HB20-1206 reads, "CLINICAL SUPERVISION" MEANS SUPERVISION PROVIDED BY A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR SUPERVISOR, LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST, LICENSED MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST, LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER, OR LICENSED ADDICTION COUNSELOR; THAT IS NOT ADMINISTRATIVE IN NATURE; AND THAT MAY INCLUDE A COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIP THAT PROMOTES THE EDUCATION, GROWTH, AND DEVELOPMENT OF A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR APPLICANT AND PROVIDES FOR THE EVALUATION OF THE APPLICANT'S CLINICAL PERFORMANCE AND COMPETENCY."

Medicaid Reimbursement Cuts

In the fall of 2019, CCHA announced intentions to cut Medicaid Reimbursement for professional counselors by 20% in Regions 6 and 7. The CCA is leading statewide efforts to not only support professional counselors, but ultimately the clients we serve through mental health services support at a state government level.

The CCA has a webpage dedicated to these efforts.