Very Important: Please read and support Art Therapy

You do not have to read this whole post to help out. Basically, there is a petition that anyone, (ie. you do NOT have to be a therapist, and I don’t think it matters if you live in NY state even though this is to the state government) can sign to help Art Therapists as well as other clinicians ensure that the New York State Legislature will clarify the scopes of practices of Mental Health Practitioners and authorize the ability to diagnose our patients. (very important, see my explanation below.)
Here is the link for signing this petition: If it is not easy to click on the link, I will post a separate “link” post above.
Below is a copy of the email I received that asks for everyone to start grassroots work to ensure that the proposition in the law is amended. In my opinion, it makes no sense to license creative arts therapists and then limit their abilities to diagnose patients, as adding a diagnosis to an insurance claim is mandatory in order for patients to get their needs met and their sessions paid for in part by their insurances. As Licensed Art Therapists in private practice in New York State, many of us are now in network with some insurance companies and rely (like other kinds of therapists also do) a lot on the referrals from being on the insurance “panel” as in network providers. In addition. as out of network providers for other insurance companies, we also are required to submit a diagnosis for each patient. For those unfamiliar with this process, basically when you seek therapy with a private practitioner through your insurance, it is considered in the category of outpatient mental health/behavioral health benefits. Not everyone covered by their insurance company needs to also see a psychiatrist, so we are required to provide the diagnosis, especially if there is no psychiatrist involved.
Here is the text of the announcement of the “Governmental Affairs Chair”: I will “Bold” the info that is key: (by the way, NYATA is the New York Art Therapy Association, LCAT stands for Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, and NYCCAT is the New York Coalition of Creative Arts Therapists.)
As Governmental Affairs Chair, I am writing to ask for your help in a very small window of opportunity available to art therapists and those in our LCAT family.This is a lengthy but quite possibly one of my most important e-mails I have written to the community so please bear with!On January 23rd, NYATA will join other Mental Heath Practitioners in introducing a proposition to amend Article 163 of Education licensure law.

This proposition and collegial coming together was the result of MANY hours, e-mails, phone calls and sleepless nights!

Over the years, I have heard from many of you regarding the various concerns regarding licensure and intended as well as unintended consequences of this law.  While not all of these concerns are addressed in the proposition, the ones in which during THIS window of opportunity we have the possibility of being most successful are.

Attached is a copy of the Proposition to Article 163 which as I write this is being viewed by your legislators and lobbied both for and against. You will see in reading the proposition that it addresses the issue of diagnosis as well as extending limited permits.  You may also note some necessary compromises.

Following this document is a 7 week strategic plan.  Please note, while this is labeled NYATAs plan ALL Supporting LCAT disciplines are encouraged to follow it as what is altered for one modality effects us all.

Your participation is of the utmost importance.  There is enormous opposition to this proposition particularly from Social Work and Psychology who have publicly denounced LCATs EVER being able to diagnose.  In an effort to gain more influence in Albany you will see that NYATA is not the only discipline supporting the proposition.  Opposition to this legislative amendment is great and it is only with YOUR support that this change has a fighting chance.

It cannot be stressed enough that this is a small window of opportunity that may NEVER come again.

Please view the 7 week strategic plan (attached) and participate as fully as you can.

Additionally from now until a decision is rendered in March you may be hearing from us quite often as we update with the next strategic step to take and/or reminders!

It is our hope that you will print and follow along with the steps as we work towards this goal.

Thank you for your support and for participating.
This is our time.

PS – The petition has gone “live� earlier than expected and you are welcome to click, sign and pass it on.
You will find the link in the attached documents.

Also: A quick “thank you� to our colleagues in Drama Therapy who worked so hard with me in making this moment possible… know who you are and you are fabulous!

Michele Amendolari MA, ATR-BC, LCAT
Governmental Affairs Chair, New York Art Therapy Association
http://www.nyarttherapy. org


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