Keeping up with the legislature sounds pretty intimidating.
I am going to assume that you have some experience combing through and understanding dense material like the 1,837 journal articles you needed to read (skim?) through in graduate school.
But the legislature can be next level. Understanding and interpreting laws and requirements can be daunting. AND it is also necessary.
As a therapist you need to understand what is expected of you in your practice for things like getting consent, dealing with custody, how you practice, CE requirements, and the list goes on.
It is things like these that can lead to a board report (check out more about that HERE!), even suspension or loss of your license, or getting sued.
BUT amazing things can also come out of the legislature - especially if you see kids and families with medical assistance!
I wanted to share two major things that happened in 2023 in Minnesota that made me jump for joy!
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires are no longer required for clients with medical assistance!
What does this mean? Every three months I won’t have to take a significant chunk of therapy time having parents fill out and return the SDQ form. This was a form that was previously required for all Medical Assistance clients under the age of 18. And while I could send these electronically, tracking that these were signed and sending reminders took up a biiiig chunk of admin time. (These still may need to be done upon intake for DC 0-5 Assessments).
The age of consent for outpatient therapy is now 16 years old.
Stop the presses! This is such a HUGE change that comes with a lot to unpack. Prior to this change Minnesota allowed minors to consent for therapy only under very specific conditions such as if they were going to seek treatment for chemical dependency, if the minor had given birth or is married, if the minor is living apart from their parents and managing their own affairs, or inpatient treatment.
In my practice none of these applied on a regular basis or in very rare and limited circumstances, but the new age of consent will definitely impact my practice. Other things to note with this change is that if a 16 year old consents to treatment independently of their parents, they are liable for all payments and outstanding balances. So ethically this may not be the best course of action to have a 16 year old consent just because they can. But for other teens - this could be life changing!
So how can you stay up to date with these changes?
I would encourage you to be a member, receive emails, or follow your licensure professional association on social media. Mine is the Minnesota Counseling Association and they provide emails and training on legislature updates.
I would also encourage you to be a part of your city, region, or state Facebook group for therapists. Usually these groups have admins that verify licensure so you know other members giving information are legit and you can often ask for links or resources!
There are also other national Facebook groups that work on compliance or podcasts focusing on clinical practice run by licensed clinicians which was super helpful the No Surprises Act!
With all of these resources it can be helpful to make sure that you are getting information from Licensed Clinicians or verified organizations. You can typically request a link to the new law/legislature so you can read the changes for yourself!
Another resource that might be helpful to help you get back some of that precious free time? The 5 Minute Note Course! The 5 Minute Note gives you support on all things progress notes.
Learn to shrink your note writing process to write effortless and effective notes within your therapy day! This course includes all the details, guides, and cheat sheets to help you know what to write and how to write it. AND includes templates and cheat sheets specifically for progress notes for play therapy! Check out more HERE!
I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC,