My name is Aaron Ginsburg and I am a practicing LPC and LCAS in the Raleigh area, working in a local crisis center, evaluating patients experiencing psychiatric and substance use related crises.
As you know, there has been a significant shortage of qualified evaluators to complete first commitment evaluations, which has led to patients in emergency rooms and crisis centers waiting, at times, days to be seen. Around ten years ago the state began allowing LCSW and LCAS level staff to become certified to complete these evaluations, but did not include LPCs or LMFTs. For the past year I have been participating in the program, as an LCAS, completing first commitment evaluations for individuals with substance use disorders, and have found that being able to do so has led to excellent continuity of care and greatly decreases the amount of time from an individual walking in the door to case disposition.
I strongly believe that including LPCs and LMFTs would only help decrease the shortage of qualified clinicians needed to complete these evaluations and have been pushing for their inclusion in the program. Last week I was in touch with Eric Beeson with LPCANC as well as Kay Castillo through the local NASW chapter. Kay informed me that social workers are open to supporting legislation which includes LPCs, but they do have some stipulations....
* They want all evaluators to be up to current LPC standards. This means new graduates and future graduates would be immediately included, but not necessarily older LPCs
*They are open to older LPCs participating, but may require them to complete continuing education or other specialized training.
Both of these stipulations seem very reasonable to me, as they are meant to ensure that only clinicians with significant training are completing evaluations. If such legislation were passed it would not only help alleviate the lack of qualified evaluators, but create significant employment and clinical growth opportunities for LPCs , both new graduates and any existing LPCs who want to become certified.
My hope is that this is something that turns out to benefit your students, and they are also encouraged to reach out to Eric as this directly impacts them.
Aaron Ginsburg M Ed, LPC, LCAS , NCC, MAC