April 3, 2014

Jill Epstein, JD
Executive Director

1. Discussion of Pending Legislation

a. AB 1702 (Maienschein) – Professions and Vocations: Incarceration – This bill would provide that an individual who as satisfied any of the requirements needed to obtain a license while incarcerated, who applies for license upon release from incarceration, and who is otherwise eligible for the license, shall not be subject to a delay in processing the application or denial of the license solely based on the prior incarceration, expect when incarceration was for a crime substantially related to the qualifications of the business or profession.

The bill is an effort to reward rehabilitation. However, all applicants with criminal background are sent to Enforcement Division for review of the facts and nature of the crime, which causes inherent delays. Delays can run from several weeks to several months.

The Committee recommended to the Board to oppose this bill.

b. AB 2058 (Wilk) – Open Meetings – This bill would make an advisory body consisting of less than 3 members subject to Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act if the body is a standing committee with a continuing subject matter jurisdiction or has a meeting scheduled fixed by formal action of a state body. This is an urgency statute and would become effective immediately if signed by Governor.

The concern is that some state agencies are holding meeting with 2 members to avoid the Open Meeting Act. BBS does use 2-member standing committees to address Board issues requiring in-depth discussion and analysis. No action is taken by these Committees and no minutes are posted, though the meetings are noticed. All recommendations of 2-member standing committees are sent to a full Committee and Board, which are open meetings.

The Committee recommended to the Board to support this bill.

c. AB 2165 (Patterson) – Professional Vocations: Licenses - This bill would require licensing boards to review licensing applications within 45 days, and to issue a license within that 45 days if the applicant meeting licensing requirements. The bill also requires test be offered at least 6 times a year.

This bill was introduced because applicants are currently experiencing major delays in licensure application processing times. The purpose is to decrease application processing delays so that applicants are not forced to be unemployed while waiting for their application process to be completed.

Mandatory furloughs and hiring freeze, combined with increase in applications and the addition of the LPCC license, have caused the delays at the BBS. The Governor’s new budget does authorize 8 additional positions and seasonal help, which should provide significant relief in applicant processing time.

The Committee was concerned because the flow of applications is never constant and there is no correlating requirement for necessary positions to review the applications. Putting a mandated number of days for review in the law sets an unrealistic expectation that the BBS will not be able to meet. Also, the author would like to have testing after graduation, which is inconsistent with BBS licensing rules. That provision is not yet in the bill. The BBS does currently offer testing continuously, so the Board’s testing procedure is already in compliance with the proposed bill.

The Committee recommended that the Board oppose this bill.

d. AB 2198 (Levine) –Mental Health Professionals: Suicide Prevention Training. This bill would require certain mental health professionals to complete a one-time training in suicide assessment, treatment, and management as part of their continuing education.

The author’s office indicated that the bill is going to be changed.

Many licensees will have already taken coursework that fulfills this requirement, either as part of their master’s degree program, or as a separate course. The bill requires that the suicide assessment course to be administered by the BBS, which is not within the BBS’ current scope of expertise. The BBS recommends that this coursework may, at the discretion of the Board, fulfill the requirement of this section. The BBS acknowledged that they do not have the technical expertise to conduct an internal study about the effect of training on the ability of licensees to treat and manage suicidal patients, as required by the bill.

CAMFT and NASW expressed concerns about adding additional mandatory courses as continuing education requirements.

The Committee recommended that the Board watch this bill as the language evolves.

e. SB 909 (Pavley) – Dependent Children: Health Screenings – This bill makes it clear that a social worker may authorize an initial medical, dental, and mental health screening for a child taken into temporary custody by a county welfare agency due to immediate danger. Current law requires that when a minor is taken into temporary custody due to an immediate danger, the social worker may authorize the personal of medial or other remedial care only if recommended by the attending physician, etc. and if the parent/guardian does not object.

The Committee discussed the definition of “social worker” and whether it should apply to “child welfare social worker” or should this responsibility to fall only to someone with a certain level of education. NASW concurred with the BBS concern over who is a “social worker”.

The Committee recommended that the Board support this bill.

f. SB 1012 (Wyland) – MFT: Trainees – This is a CAMFT-sponsored bill that would remove the limitation of 5 hours of supervision gained per week toward the 3000 hours of experience required for licensure.
The intent of the bill is to assist MFT interns who are working in a number of settings simultaneously in order to gain the requisite experience hours required for licensure and are receiving more than 5 supervised hours per week, thus gaining hours that cannot be counted.
The BBS looked at the percentage of hours of direct supervision in several scenarios if the 5 hour maximum limit of supervision is limited. There was concern that a lack on limit on direct supervision hours could, in some instances, lead to applicants gaining fewer direct client counseling experience hours because they are counting more direct supervision hours.

The BBS has established a Committee to review the current “supervision buckets” and this falls within the bigger issues that Committee will be discussing. There is concern that bigger legislation could come from that Committee in the future.

The MFT Evaluator at the BBS believes that increasing to 6 hours is reasonable, but does not see a benefit beyond that increase. LPCC and LCSW have the same limitation. Currently, there is a 1000 hour ceiling for supervision hours (but limited to 5 hours per week).

The Committee recommended that the Board watch this bill and direct staff to work with CAMFT.

g. SB 1148 (Yee) – MFT: Record Retention. This bill would require an LMFT to retain patient records for a minimum of 7 years from the date therapy is terminated or from the date a minor reaches age 18.
The BBS Enforcement Manager noted cases of fraud or sexual misconduct do not make use of treatment records, so the proposed 7-year statute of limitations does not raise any issues for Enforcement. The Committee discussed that it would be beneficial to have the other BBS licensees follow this statute of limitations. NASW and CALPCC support this bill and the addition of their licensees. (It was unclear how this affects LEPs). It was suggested that licensees be made aware that they are not required to destroy records after 7 years, but instead they may destroy the records after 7 years.

The Committee recommended that the Board support this bill and ask sponsor/author to consider including all BBS licensees.

h. AB 1505 (Garcia) – Child Abuse: Mandated Reporter. This bill would specify that consensual acts of sodomy and oral copulation are not acts of sexual assault that must be reported by a mandated reporter, unless one party is over age 21 and the other is under age 16.

DCA issued a legal opinion that found that CANRA does not require a mandated reporter to report incidents of consensual sex between minors of a similar age for any actions described in PDC Section 11165.1, unless reasonable suspicion of force or abuse. BBS Counsel supports addressing this issue in law to clarify the confusion on this topic.

The Committee recommended that the Board support this bill.

2. Consideration as English as a Second Language (ESL) as a possible Testing Accommodation
In 2011, the BBS stopped accommodating English as a Second Language as it was not a disability under the ADA. (The BBS had been offering extra time to take the exam for last yeast 11 years before it was disbanded.) Options to accommodate ESL include translating the exam (not feasible because of costs) and offering ESL student extra time. There is no real precedent for accommodation of ESL students and issues of arbitrary standards of who would qualify as ESL student.

Staff was directed to study statistics of ESL student pass rates and bring back information about the TOEFL exam.

3. BBS Bills
a. AB 2213 (Eggman): LMFT and LPCC Out-of-State Applicant Requirements. The BBS Out-of-State Education Committee worked to create new out-of-state requirements that better accommodate license portability, while still maintaining consumer protection. The resulting proposal makes changes to the practicum requirements for out-of-state applicants, as well as allows them to remediate certain coursework through continuing education, instead of requiring all coursework to be from a graduate program.

b. SB 1466 - Omnibus Legislation: This bill makes minor, technical, and non-substantive amendments to add clarity and consistency to current licensing law.

c. AB 1843 (Jones and Gordon): Child Custody Evaluators: Confidentiality. This bill seeks statutory authority to access a child custody evaluation report for the purpose of investigating allegations that one of its licensees, while serving as a child custody evaluator, engaged in unprofessional conduct in the creation of the report. Board staff is now investigating a few stakeholder concerns with the Attorney General’s office.

CAMFT is concerned that subject matter experts be seated on the review panel and that the reports are kept confidential.

4. Rulemaking Update
a. Continuing Education: Proposed changes were based on the recommendations of the Board’s Continuing Education Committee. The proposal is currently under review by the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. Then, the proposal goes to Finance and then to Office of Administrative Law. The proposal must be signed by the Secretary of State by May 31, 2014 in order to go into effect on July 1.

b. Uniform Standards for Substance Abuse: Proposal was prompted by concerns that there is a lack of a consistent policy across DCA healing arts boards for handling cases that involve licensees or registrants who abuse drugs or alcohol. The proposal was approved by the Board in March, 2014 Staff will submit the proposal to OAL for publication in the California Regulatory Notice Register, which will begin the 45-day comment period.

c. LPCCS treating Couples and Families: Proposal clarifies requirements for LPCCs to treat couples and families and outlines the process by which LPCCS and PCC Interns would receive Board confirmation that they have meet the requirements. The proposal was approved by the Board in March, 2014 Staff will submit the proposal to OAL for publication in the California Regulatory Notice Register, which will begin the 45-day comment period.

d. Exam Re-Structure: Proposal revises current Board regulations for clarity and consistency with statutory changes made by SB 704. Because of implementation conflicts with the new BreEZe sytem, the effective date of the restructure was delayed until 2016, Staff will be a revised proposal back to Committee once additional details have been worked through.

5. New Business
May 13 will be a mental health advocacy day in Sacramento.

CAMFT requested that AB 1775 be added to the May Board agenda