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Texas Behavioral Health Council
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BHEC stands for the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council (www.bhec.texas.gov). During the 86th Legislative Session, BHEC was created through HB 1501.  NASW/TX, along with our partners at the Texas Counseling Association and the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, were instrumental in developing BHEC and working hard to get the best possible bill for our profession passed.

 

BHEC is a functionally aligned umbrella agency that provides administrative services and support to the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (TSBSWE), the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (TSBEPC), the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists (TSBEMFT).

 

  

How This Impacts Your License

Currently all mental health licenses are housed inside the Health and Human Service Commission and have to rely on their staff for help in processing applications, handling renewals and disciplinary actions.  The TSBSWE is experiencing major delays in license issuance and renewal, and BHEC was built to support these processes.  BHEC cannot make any rules that apply to social workers, that is still the purview of the TSBSWE.  But it can and will focus on the administrative processes, and should greatly enhance the delivery times and procedures.

 

How It Will Be Funded

Under HHSC, the TSBSWE does not have a line item in the budget, and we currently operate on a budget that is less than half of the fee revenue we generate.  BHEX will have a line item in the budget, and we will be able to see exactly what dollars go to our board operation, and we’ll be able to better advocate for an increase in funding for services,

 

The History of BHEC

The BHEC was five years in the making and created out of a process called Sunset. It was determined that all mental health licenses, MFT, LPC, social workers, and psychologists could no longer be housed within HHSC. After many years of discussions and meeting with legislators over multiple sessions, the idea of a new agency was agreed upon with one provision. The new agency had to recognize and keep intact the independent rule making authority of each mental health board. Each step of the way NASW/TX and our partners fought for a new agency for our boards. 

 

How This Impacts Your Work

The autonomy of each board is important.  While BHEC reviews all rules for anti-competitiveness and scope of practice issues, it cannot make any rules, and is there to handle the administrative side of licensing and to make sure that various boards’ rules don’t affect the other professions.

 

BHEC was created as the first such agency of its kind in America. BHEC is not a consolidated board.  It is an agency housing all of our autonomous boards, and there to serve as a check and balance between the professions.  We will share administrative and investigative functions, but your license will still come from the social work board, ethics complaints will still be handled at the board level, and rules regarding our profession will still be proposed, developed and adopted by the social work board only.

 

Next Steps

BHEC goes “live” on September 1, 2020.  Until that date our board is in limbo, waiting to transfer over to the new agency and unable to pass any new rules until BHEC can review them.  We are still advocating for a more efficient and effective board right now, but a lot of the structural fixes for our board are contained in BHEC, and we will continue to work hard to make sure that social workers do not have a board that is a barrier to their work.

 

 



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