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Mental Health Counselor Provider Requirements

TRICARE Certified Mental Health Counselor

Under TRICARE, a TRICARE-certified mental health counselor (TCMHC) is an independent provider licensed at the highest level within the jurisdiction where practicing, who does not require referral and oversight by a physician in order to receive reimbursement for service to a beneficiary. 

TCMHC Provider Requirements

As of Jan. 1, 2021, TCMHCs must:

1. Have passed the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination or an examination determined by the Director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA) as equal in scope, intent and content to the NCMHCE;

and

2. Possess a master's or higher-level degree from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)-accredited education and training program for mental health counseling or clinical mental health counseling;  

and

3. Have had a minimum of two years' post-master's degree of supervised mental health counseling practice, including at least 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. The supervision must meet the requirements specified in in TRICARE Policy Manual, Chapter 11;

or

At any point prior to Jan. 1, 2017, have met the following requirements:

1. Possess a master’s or higher-level degree from a mental health counseling program of education and training accredited for mental health counseling or clinical mental health counseling by CACREP (or otherwise meets the requirements defined in TRICARE Policy Manual, Chapter 11) and have passed the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or NCMHCE;

or

2. Possess a master’s or higher-level degree from a mental health counseling program of education and training accredited for mental health counseling or clinical mental health counseling by a regional accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and have passed the NCMHCE;

and

3. Have had a minimum of two years’ post-master’s degree supervised mental health counseling practice that included a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. This supervision must have been provided by mental health counselors, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, certified clinical social workers (CCSWs), TCMHCs, or certified psychiatric nurse specialists (CPNSs), who were licensed for independent practice in the jurisdiction where practicing and were consistent with the guidelines regarding knowledge, skills and practice standards for supervision of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA).

or

At any point prior to Jan. 1, 2021, have met the following requirements:

1. Possess a master’s or higher-level degree from a mental health counseling program of education and training accredited for mental health counseling or clinical mental health counseling by a regional accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and have passed the NCMHCE;

and

2. Have had a minimum of two years’ post-master’s degree supervised mental health counseling practice that included a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. This supervision must have been provided by mental health counselors, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, certified CCSWs, TCMHCs or CPNSs, who were licensed for independent practice in the jurisdiction where practicing and were consistent with the guidelines regarding knowledge, skills, and practice standards for supervision of the AMHCA.

How to Submit Proof of Completion

Network Providers Non-Network Providers
Submit to HNFS:

Fax: 1-844-836-5818
Mail: HNFS
        Attn: Provider Network Management
        PO Box 9410
        Virginia Beach, VA 23450-9410
Submit to PGBA, LLC:

Fax: 1-844-730-1373
Mail: TRICARE West – Provider Data Management
        PO Box 202106
        Florence, SC 29502-2106

 

Supervised Mental Health Counselor

Under TRICARE, if you do not meet the requirements to be a TCMHC, you may qualify to be a supervised mental health counselor (SMHC).  

SMHC Provider Requirements

An individual must meet the following requirements to become an SMHC:

1. Possess a minimum of a master’s degree in mental health counseling or allied mental health field from a regionally accredited institution; 

and 

2. Have had two years' post-master’s experience that included 3,000 hours of clinical work and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision;

and 

3. Be licensed or certified to practice as a mental health counselor by the jurisdiction where practicing;

and

May only be reimbursed when the following criteria are met:

  • The TRICARE beneficiary is referred for therapy by a physician; and
  • A physician is providing ongoing oversight and supervision of the therapy being provided; and 
  • The SMHC certifies on each claim for reimbursement that written communication has been made or will be made to the referring physician of the results of the treatment. (Note: This communication must be made at the end of the treatment, or more frequently, as required by the referring physician).

Additional Information