The Massachusetts Association of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors Inc.(MAADAC) has announced its 31st Annual Holiday Breakfast & Membership Meeting January 18, 2013 at the Doubletree Westborough Hotel.
MAADAC is the Massachusetts affiliate of NAADAC,The National Association for Addiction Professionals. MAADAC's mission is “to lead, unify and empower addiction focused professionals to achieve excellence through education, advocacy, knowledge, standards of practice, ethics, professional development and research.”
One of MAADAC's major initiatives is a bill filed simultaneously in the Massachusetts House and Senate, to allow insurance reimbursement for clinicians certified as LADC (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor).
Most people are not aware the majority of mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and mental health counselors receive no training in the assessment and treatment of substance use disorders. It is actually possible to graduate from a professional training program and receive an MD, Ph.D., MSW or MS without ever taking a course in working with substance use disorders. Although these degrees are all eligible for professional licensure and consequent insurance reimbursement, they may not be able to provide any resources for someone with a substance use disorder. The MAADAC bill would address this glaring gap in the field.
The bill titled An Act To Improve Access to Alcohol and Other Drug Clinical Services has been filed in the Senate by Senator Steven Tolman (Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge) and in the House by Representative Martin Walsh (Dorchester). Currently, individuals and families with substance use disorders must choose a provider from a very limited pool of experienced clinicians. The bill would allow insurance companies to reimburse clinicians with the LADC I credential thereby incentivizing clinics and treatment centers to hire these clinicians. Without this reimbursement connection, treatment resources must rely on other licensed professionals who may or may not be able to treat substance use disorders.
Recent reports show that approximately 40% of Boston High School students report alcohol use and almost 20% report regular binge drinking. In Massachusetts, according to The National Survey of Drug Use and Health Massachusetts ranked 4th highest for adult binge drinking, and has the 5th highest rate of illicit drug use in the country.
There are currently about 1700 LADC's in Massachusetts. Adding them to the reimbursable clinician pool would provide a much needed resource to the Commonwealth. A LADC I requires a Master's degree and three years full-time, supervised work experience. It is a professional credential that would greatly improve the services currently available in the Commonwealth.