MFT Action Needed!

From the WAMFT Legislative Committee

Dear WAMFT Members,

A new proposed regulation from the Washington Health Care Authority/ Washington Apple Health would include MFTs as providers who can make or confirm a diagnosis of gender dysphoria as a qualified health provider for gender dysphoria treatment.
This would enable MFTs to provide diagnosis and therapy under Medicaid coverage to help trans people meet the pre-surgical requirements for gender confirmation.
WAMFT is excited about and supportive of this extension of our scope of practice - we hope you are as well! 
Below is the link to the original notice for the proposal:
Below is the link to AAMFT’s stance on gender identity and ways we can be supportive:
We want to encourage you to actively reach out to representatives with your thoughts. The contact for the proposed regulation is Wendy Barcus (update: corrected email) is: (
Written comments can be submitted to her email address until 5:00pm PST on June 27, 2017. 

The template below may be used if you find it helpful:

Dear Ms. Barcus:

This is regarding proposal WSR 17-11-140, which addresses mental health providers who are able to offer diagnosis and therapy under Medicaid for gender dysphoria.  As a professional offering mental health services in the state of Washington, I am hopeful about inclusion of licensed Marriage and Family Therapists as approved providers for this type of work, since it falls within our training and scope of practice. The expansion of the list of approved providers will benefit trans individuals and their partners and families as it will allow for more practitioners to provide supportive care. 

I ask that you support WSR 17-11-140 and its inclusion of Marriage and Family Therapists as providers for diagnosis and therapy under Medicaid for those with gender dysphoria. 

Thank you. 


 Legislative Update - End of 2015 Session 

by Amber D. Lewis, WAMFT Lobbyist

WAMFT is proud to welcome Amber Lewis as our new lobbyist. Amber brings more than 13 years of Olympia experience to our membership. Starting as an intern for the Ways and Means Chairwomen, she advanced to senior legislative assistant to the Senate Majority Leader. After a brief campaign stint, she returned to the Senate as the fiscal analyst before moving on to Providence Health & Services as their Director of Government Affairs for six years. She now runs her own government affairs and public relations firm in Olympia.


WAMFT joined with Governor Jay Inslee for the signing of Substitute House Bill 1184, providing LMFTAs with online access to HEAL-WA, the University of Washington Health Sciences Library.

When this legislation takes effect, LMFTAs will be instructed how to access the database.

As the 2015 legislature wrapped up its regular session, we were closely following two bills which did not pass through both chambers during the regular session. Each of the bills below were returned to committee for consideration in the 2016 session.

HB1713: WAMFT supported this bill, meant to integrate the treatment systems for mental health and chemical dependency. This bill:

  • makes certain short-term changes to the involuntary chemical dependency treatment provisions that parallel corresponding involuntary mental health treatment provisions;
  • integrates the involuntary treatment provisions and systems for chemical dependency and mental health;
  • integrates other provisions pertaining to minor-initiated and parent-initiated chemical dependency and mental health treatment for minors, effective April 1, 2017; and
  • directs a Washington State Institute for Public Policy study to evaluate the effect of the integration of the involuntary treatment systems for chemical dependency and mental health.

HB1134: We monitored this bill, which concerned scope of practice for certified counselors and advisers. This bill:

  • replaces references to the previous version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders with generic language about mental, emotional, or behavioral problems;
  • replaces the specific list of professionals to or from whom a certified adviser or certified counselor may give or accept referrals with a list of professionals defined by the Secretary of Health in rule; and
  • specifically prohibits a person from practicing as a certified adviser or certified counselor unless he or she is certified a certified adviser or certified counselor.

Overall, the regular session was a great success for WAMFT and we greatly appreciate all those who took a moment to speak with legislators, send an email in support of our efforts, and come to Olympia to testify.  It is only with a strong collaborative partnership that legislative success can be achieved. I greatly appreciate all of your support.

But the work doesn’t stop there!  If you have an idea for a legislative change that ought to be pursued next session, please let us know.  As the clinical leaders and experts only you know what rules and laws that can improve patient outcomes and make your practices better.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in Olympia as your association’s lobbyist. As we prepare for the start of special session this week, it is nice to know our priorities are completed.

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