AB-700: The Counselor Demotion Bill

Posted by larryhearn on June 13, 2017

AB-700 gives your job to other professions’ interns and increases certification fees by 300%

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Demotion for Half the Workforce

Destroys Private Practice

Lowers Pay for Counselors

Raises Certification Fees

No Licensure

Job Killer

 

Help Defeat AB 700 – The Counselor Demotion Bill

How AB 700 Negatively Impacts Counselors:

 

AB 700 will increase certification fees by over 300%:

To cover the costs of AB 700 certification organizations will be forced to raise their renewal fees to over $800 for members and $1,400 for nonmembers. The Assembly Appropriations Committee estimates the program will cost $1.9 million in just the first year and at least $1.8 million every year after!  – that’s dollars out of counselors’ pockets to pay for it.

 

AB 700 demotes more than one-half of CCAPP counselors:

AB 700 "demotes" the current workforce by relegating all non-degreed counselors to "0" level, regardless of skill, accomplishment, years of service, or seniority! No matter how much education you’ve obtained, if you do not have a degree from an accredited college, you will be at the bottom of the ladder! There is no sunrise (January 2019 implementation) and no grandparent for the current workforce. If you are a LAADC  or CADC II with no degree, when you renew, you are a CAC 0!

 

Drives pay downward for experienced counselors:

As employers restructure staffing to reflect the career ladder, older, more experienced counselors will be shorted as younger degrees counselors are rewarded at the top of the ladder.

 

AB 700 kills private practice:

AB 700 prohibits addiction counselors from private practice unless you have a current license from a behavioral health board.  There is no license level in this career ladder; all counselors who want to reach the highest level must become mental health practitioners which doubles your education and requires you to maintain both certification and licensing costs! 

 

AB 700 closes current private practice and DOT SAP:

On January 1, 2019 all private practitioners and Department of Transportation (DOT) qualified Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) will have to close their doors. Their clients and contractors will be left with no services, putting the public at risk and effecting the life and health of addicts who are currently in treatment.

CCAPP is dedicated to driving out abusive and incompetent AOD counselors in the private practice setting with a comprehensive licensure program for those working outside of licensed and certified programs. This approach recognizes the excellent counselores doing this work currently while building a career ladder that includes licensure for those who choose to work in private practice in the future. This would "police" the unregulated market using license fees collected from those who wish to invest in their careers to get the licenses, not forcing the cost onto everyone. The time for a license that recognizes the skills, education and dediation of OUR workforce is now. CCAPP is holding the door open for CAADE to work in a united way to solve this urgent problem.  

 

AB 700 gives good paying jobs to behavioral health interns:

AB 700 takes good jobs from certified counselors and gives them to mental health interns who are specifically exempt from the requirements of the bill. Professionals with very little education and no competency exam or experience for addiction counseling will be allowed to be addiction counselors with no restriction, while the AOD specialists are barred from counseling independently!

 

AB 700 hides your accomplishments:

AB 700 does not account for or value experience or IC&RC testing. AB 700 makes the majority of counselors a CAC 0; there will be no way to distinguish where you are now if the bill passes.

 

How AB 700 Negatively Impacts Registrants:

 

AB 700 will increase certification fees by over 300%:

To cover the costs of AB 700 all certification organizations (CAADE, CADTP, and CCAPP) will be forced to raise their renewal fees to over $800 for members and $1,400 for nonmembers. The Assembly Appropriations Committee estimates the program will cost $1.9 million in just the first year and at least $1.8 million every year after!  – that’s dollars out of counselors’ pockets to pay for it.


AB 700 changes test score requirements, making it harder to pass the exam:

AB 700 disregards psychometrically validated cut scores that the rest of the country uses and makes it harder for CCAPP registrants to become certified.

 

Requires "clinical supervision" for all work experience for certification:

Currently only the practicum coursework experience (255 hours) has this requirement. There are simply not enough clinical supervisors in existence for registrants to meet this requirement. Registrants will lose their jobs because they won’t be able to meet the five year requirement!

 

AB 700 removes hardship extensions:

Registrants who are impacted by illness, inability to finance education, or inability to complete work experience requirements due to displacement or other crisis will be banned from certification at the five year mark. Enlisted persons, those who are injured, or those who must leave the profession for financial reasons, would receive a lifetime ban against returning to the profession.

 

Requires continuous work or school for all registrants:

In order to be a registrant, you must be either enrolled in a school or working toward experience hours. Change jobs or miss a school deadline and you are no longer registered!

 

How AB 700 Negatively Impacts Programs:

 

Raises staff costs:

AB 700 requires “clinical supervision” of all registrants. DHCS is given the ability to create regulation to define what “clinical supervision” would be in programs. The bill provides no clear description or requirement of clinical supervision, just a vague definition.

 

AB 700 will increase certification fees by over 300%:

To cover the costs of AB 700 certification organizations will be forced to raise their renewal fees to over $800 for members and $1,400 for nonmembers. The Assembly Appropriations Committee estimates the program will cost over $1.9 million in just the first year and at least $1.8 million every year after!  – that’s dollars out of counselors’ pockets (or their workplaces) to pay for it.

 

AB 700 shuts down vocational education for AOD counselors:

The bill requires all BPPE schools to be degree granting for education to be used for certification, forcing most of registrants into the community colleges where classes are typically only available during week days and evenings, not on the weekend. This will limit registrant’s availability to work. This will cause these schools to end their AOD programs. No CAARR Institute graduates could move up the career ladder.

 

AB 700 exacerbates workforce shortage:

AB 700 encourages students and new entrants to leave the profession by requiring them to get a behavioral health licenses (LCSW, MFT, etc.) in order to reach their full potential. Colleges and schools have no reason to grow the AOD profession; they are incentivized to increase behavioral health programs.

 

AB 700 ignores the real problems programs face:

The bill does nothing to address assisting registrants to become certified counselors, in fact it makes this more difficult. It does not increase competency for AOD practitioners, choosing to divert them to mental health careers. It supplies no new revenue to support workforce expansion; instead it drains valuable resources by taxing certifying organizations, counselors and programs to cover the costs of a dysfunctional career ladder. Rather than creating a license for addiction counselors which would expand the workforce to address the critical shortage of counselors in California, the bill aims to discourage people from entering the profession with artificial obstacles, dual credentialing and requirements that don’t meet workforce needs. There are not enough competent addiction professionals to fill the current counselor positions. With the implementation of the ODS waiver and Proposition 64, California needs more counselors, not less.

 

AB 700 is unnecessary and costly to all:

AB 700 proposes burdensome and costly new regulations, and for what? What does this accomplish for the addiction treatment industry? It does not increase competence for counselors or better client care. It will however, increase the amount of counselors that will need to go back to community college to climb up the career ladder. All three certification organizations already have career ladders. Both CCAPP and CAADE’s current career ladders already acknowledge degrees. CCAPP is uniting the state with the California Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (C-CARA) to move treatment forward. Join us in fighting to increase funding and quality for all Californians experiencing addiction, at ccara.info. California needs a comprehensive approach to funding for addiction treatment, not an artificial career ladder that elevates some counselors, yet provides no new funding to pay them more.