NAADAC Opposes California Bill SB 570

For Media Release

August 1, 2014

Alexandria, VA - NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, issued the following statement regarding SB 570, the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Licensing Act currently being considered by the California Legislature:

The Honorable Mike Gatto
Chair, Assembly Appropriations Committee
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814  

Re: Opposition to SB 570 (DeSaulnier) as amended July 2, 2014  

NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, writes to express its strong opposition to the current version of SB 570 Advanced Alcohol and Drug Licensing Act, currently before the California Legislature. NAADAC represents the professional interests of more than 85,000 addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals in the United States, Canada, and abroad. NAADAC’s members are addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals, who specialize in addiction prevention, treatment, recovery support and education. An important part of the healthcare continuum, NAADAC members and its 47 state affiliates work to create healthier individuals, families and communities through prevention, intervention, quality treatment and recovery support.  

As a national leader in addiction counseling certification and licensure standards, NAADAC supports the advancement of the national career ladder proposed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in their 2010 publication, Scopes of Practice and Career Ladder for Substance Use Disorder Counseling.  SB 570 conflicts with those national standards, fails to provide a graduated career ladder, and grants full licensure and ability to work independently to those with only a GED or high school diploma. In other disciplines and in states where the national standards have been implemented with a career ladder or tiered system, therapists and counselors without a master’s or, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree, may not work independently. In addition, many third party payers (Managed Care and Preferred Providers) in many states will not reimburse for services provided by individuals without master’s or bachelor’s degrees from regionally accredited colleges or universities. SB 570 could potentially deny Californians access to affordable addiction services.  

SB 570 puts forward outdated standards by CAADAC with a test that is produced by one organization, International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC), used by only one of the five credentialing bodies in California.  It is by no means the sole representative of the profession of addiction counseling and does not represent the majority of addiction counselors in California. The standards being used by CAADAC are antiquated and do not advance the national career ladder or the best practices of addiction professionalism. In addition, the testing process promoted by CAADAC is not open to use by other credentialing bodies.  It promotes a non-governmental CAADAC license or approval and only those with a CAADAC credential will be allowed to practice.  If approved, SB 570 will restrict the trade of addiction counselors, displace thousands of currently qualified addiction counselors in the state of California, and result in giving authority to an exclusive group that does not offer standards promoted by SAMHSA, HHS, NAADAC and our California affiliate, the Addiction Professional Association of California.  

Finally, this action would reduce actual numbers in the addiction counselor workforce which is in direct opposition to SAMHSA’s initiatives to increase the addiction counselor workforce.    

While NAADAC supports a professional license in California, we favor a tiered system such as the one used by the California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators (CAADE). The CAADE tiered system advances the national standards and insures that Californians will not be denied access to affordable care provided by qualified addiction practitioners. NAADAC also promotes a national licensure model and is available to provide any technical assistance or guidance should you wish to discuss these issues further.

Please find attached a national licensure model, as well as SAMHSA’s National Scopes of Practice for your review and convenience.   Please feel free to contact me with any questions, clarification, or further information.  We look forward to hearing from you in regards to SB570.  Thank you.  

Sincerely yours,
Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, NCACII, CCDCIII, SAP
Executive Director
NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals

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Media Contact

Jessica Gleason
[email protected]
703.741.7686 x 130

NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, represents the professional interests of more than 85,000 addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals in the United States, Canada, and abroad. NAADAC’s members are addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals, who specialize in addiction prevention, treatment, recovery support and education. An important part of the healthcare continuum, NAADAC members and its 47 state affiliates work to create healthier individuals, families and communities through prevention, intervention, quality treatment and recovery support. NAADAC promotes excellence in care by advocating for the highest quality and most up-to-date, science-based services for clients, families and communities. NAADAC does this by providing education, clinical training and certification. Among the organization's national certification programs are the National Certified Addiction Counselor (NCAC I & II) and Masters Addiction Counselor (MAC) designations. NAADAC has educated more than  45,000 professionals through its webinar series and credentialed more than 15,000 counselors, playing an important role in sustaining quality health services and protecting the well being of the public.

Posted by Jessica Gleason at 10:21 AM
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