Signaling a cooperative spirit that has been in evidence for some time, the two leading national credentialing organizations for addiction counselors have announced a mutual interest in exploring collaborations.
A July 29 letter to colleagues from the National Certification Commission (NCC) and the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) describes common interests and goals outlined at a recent two-day meeting attended by leaders of the two groups.
“Both IC&RC and NCC recognize the need to speak with one voice for our profession if we hope to effectively address the needs of our respective constituencies in the current political climate and as U.S. healthcare reform moves forward,” the communication states. “The time is now!”
NCC, which is affiliated with NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals, and IC&RC each had three representatives present at the two-day meeting held in Denver late last month. The group identified several common interests between the two credentialing organizations, including ensuring that certified counselors are represented in health reform discussions and regulatory efforts, and agreeing that credentialing services and membership services should be administered by separate entities to avoid conflicts of interest.
“Recognizing our common ground, we enjoy a cordial and mutually respectful relationship, and we are excited about exploring additional ways that we can collaborate,” states the communication, signed by NCC chairman James A. Holder III and IC&RC president Rhonda Messamore.
The two major voices in credentialing for addiction professionals have not always been so harmonious. About five years ago there were ongoing discussions of a NAADAC-IC&RC merger that would have brought the credentialing role under one authority, but later those talks collapsed. At other times there have been bitter relations between NAADAC and IC&RC.
Under the present leadership of the two organizations, lines of communication have reopened. There has been a growing sense in the field that an “alphabet soup” of credentials and certification requirements for addiction counselors has hurt the profession’s standing vis-à-vis other healthcare disciplines.
This week’s joint effort gives little indication of what types of collaboration might be on the horizon. Field leaders have talked in recent months about standardizing the educational requirements and examinations that would-be counselors face, regardless of the entity from which they are seeking certification.