bbs policy and advocacy update

April 18, 2013


The Committee discussed the following pieces of legislation to determine recommendations for the Board:

AB 186 (Maienschein) – Military Spouses; Temporary License
The bill would require the BBS to issue a provisional license to an applicant who holds a current license in another state in the same profession for which he/she is seeking a California license and is married to, or in a domestic partnership with, an active member of the U.S. military who is on active duty in California.    The bill does NOT require that the licensing requirements from the other state be substantially equivalent to the requirements in California nor does it require the applicant to pass the required Board administered exams

The Committee discussed additional concerns that there is no requirement of proof of an out-of-state license and no fingerprint requirements.

The Committee recommended that the Board seek amendments requiring the applicant to submit fingerprints, submit proof of licensure, and pass California law and ethics exam.  The clinical exam would need to be passed within the 18-month provisional timeframe.

AB 213 (Logue) – Licensure/Certification; Military Experience
This bill would require that schools accredited or approved by Boards to offer credits towards licensing requirements to submit proof that they have procedures in place to evaluate an applicant’s military education, experience and training.  

While the BBS does review a school’s curriculum to determine whether or not that curriculum meets the Board’s requirements for licensure, the BBS does not accredit or approve schools (relying, instead, on the accreditations and approvals of other specified entities).

The Committee discussed that this bill does not promote consumer protection, which is the Board’s scope.   The Committee recommended that no position be taken.

AB 252 (Yamada and Eggman) – Social Worker Title
This bill would only allow the job title “Social Worker” to be used by a person who has a degree from an accredited school of social work.   This title protection applies to all individuals, including those who work in exempt settings.  (Those people in Social Worker positions prior to January 1, 2014, may continue in that title.)   If an employer hires someone without a degree in social work to fulfill duties similar to a social worker, the employer would be required to give that person a different title.   The BBS would have the ability to impose discipline against licensees who are employed as “social workers” and do not have the requisite social work degree, though the main intent of the bill is to ensure that agencies do not misuse the title.

CAMFT noted that it has a position of “oppose unless amended.”   CAMFT would like to see the implementation of this bill delayed to allow for adequate time to educate agencies about the changes and for time for the agencies to make the requisite title changes.  Furthermore, CAMFT believes the enforcement remedy is too severe and recommends that agencies be allowed to take corrective action once they are aware of the possible charge before charges are instituted.  NASW-CA indicated that it would be open to modifying the enforcement mechanism and delaying the implementation.

The Committee expressed concern about the grandfather feature.  NASW-CA agreed that it is not ideal, but it is a typical provision when such bills are being issued.  NASW-CA reported that the counties have indicated that, going forward, they would move to more generic titles (which is not NASW-CA’s first choice).   AAMFT-CA noted that the rampant confusion might not be resolved by simple title protection for Social Workers, suggesting that other titles should be protected as well.     The Committee also noted that there would be resources issues with being involved in the enforcement and possible confusion within the public about where to file complaints.   It was noted that it would be highly unlikely that the BBS would have the resources to enforce.

The Committee recommended that title protection be supported, in theory.   The Committee supported delayed implementation, but wants the bill to be amended to clarify that other qualified professionals should be considered for positions and that the employer is the responsible party for titles. The Committee also noted that the BBS would not be able to enforce the bill as presented.    The Committee recommended that the grandfather period be eliminated based on the fact that there would be delayed implementation.

AB 376 (Donnelly) – Regulations; Notice
The bill would require the BBS to notify all affected parties when it enforces a regulation that has been promulgated.    Currently, when there are pending regulations, the BBS notifies everyone who subscribes to the Board’s notification service and posts the notice on the BBS website.

The Committee discussed the resources involved with collecting emails for every licensee and/or sending the information via USPS.   This could impact the Board’s ability to run regulations when needed.

The Committee recommended that the Board oppose this bill.

AB 512 (Rendon) – Healing Arts – Licensure/Certification
This bill extends provisions of current law until January 1, 2018.   Current law allows out-of-state healing arts practitioners to participate in government or non-profit sponsored health care events to provide health care services to the uninsured.

The Committee recommended to oppose unless amended to remove BBS from the bill.

AB 790 (Gomez) – Child Abuse; Reporting
This bill deletes a provision in the current law that allows a team of mandated reporters to designate one member to make a single mandated report.   Therefore, all mandated reporters who obtain knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect would be required to make their own report.  

CAMFT opposes this bill because the reporting requirements would be duplicative and inefficient for both the mandated reporters as well as for the county and community departments that receive the reports and are already overburdened.

The Committee believes this bill protects children because it encourages multiple reports to build a case.  But, the Committee also acknowledged the challenges with the bill as written.   The Committee decided to stay neutral at this point.

AB 1057 (Medina) – Licenses; Military Service
The bill would require the BBS licensing application to inquire whether the applicant is serving, or has previously served, in the military.   The intent of the bill it to make it easier for Boards to identify applicants who may have applicable military training or experience.  The implementation date is January 1, 2015, to accommodate the upcoming, new BrEZe database.

The Committee noted that the BBS forms will need to be revised when BrEZe database is functional.    The Committee recommended that the Board support this bill.

SB 22 (Beall) – Health Care Coverage; Mental Health Parity
This bill requires health care service plans and insurers to submit an annual report to the Department of Managed Health Care or Department of Insurance which would contain an analysis of the plans’ compliance with state law.  The reports must contain a survey of plan enrollees and a survey of plan providers.   The intent is to enforce mental health parity laws.

The Committee recommended that the Board support this bill. 

SB 126 (Steinberg) – Health Care Coverage; PDD or Autism
This bill extends the operation of existing law until January 1, 2020.   The existing law requires health care service plans contracts and policies to provide benefits, including coverage, for behavioral health treatment for pervasive developmental disorder or autism, except as specified.

The Committee recommended that the Board support this bill.

SB 282 (Yee) – Confidential Medical Information
This bill extends a provision in existing law to LMFTS.   Current law requires that a settlement or compromise offer against a physician or surgeon be accompanied by an authorization to disclose medical information.  

CAMFT is the sponsor of this legislation.  AAMFT-CA supports this bill.

The Committee discussed the benefits of this bill and recommended support if amended to include LCSWs and LPCCs.

SB 578 (Wyland) – LMFTs; Unprofessional Conduct
This bill adds certain dual relationships to the list of provisions that may be considered unprofessional conduct.  It clarifies that dual relationships that constitute unprofessional conduct are relationships that are likely to impair professional judgment or lead to exploitation of the patient.  The BBS currently categorizes unethical dual relationships under other provisions of the unprofessional conduct code section.

CAMFT is the sponsor of this legislation.   AAMFT-CA has been working with CAMFT to refine the language to ensure practitioners in rural communities are not limited and can reduce their risk.  

The Committee noted that dual relationship issues affect all of its licensees.  There was concern that there are multiple ethical codes governing the licensees and having a law that only governs LMFTS could be confusing.  The Committee was concerned that specifying unethical dual relationships is confusing, though Counsel noted that adding a definition would alleviate confusion and will not hinder BBS in other enforcement actions.  

The Committee recommended that the BBS oppose this bill.

The Committee discussed the following pieces of BBS-sponsored legislation:  

AB 404 (Eggman) – Retired Licenses

This bill would clarify the law regarding eligibility for a retired license.   The bill has passed the Assembly Committees and is now on the Senate side.  

CAMFT supports this bill.

AB 428 (Eggman) – LMFT and LCSW
This bill would allow LMFT and LCSW applicants to remediate certain degree deficiencies. This bill has passed the Assembly Committee B+P and has been referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee.  

CAMFT supports this bill.

AB 451 (Eggman) – LMFT an LPCC Out-of- State Applicant Requirements
This bill would extend the effective date of the new education requirements for out-of-state licensees from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015.  This bill has passed the Assembly Committees are is now on the Senate side.

CAMFT supports this bill.

AB 958 (Jones) – Child Custody Evaluators
This bill would specify that the BBS may access a child custody evaluation report for the purpose of investigations allegations that a licensee, serving as a child custody evaluator, engaged in unprofessional conduct.  This bill has been referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

CAMFT opposes this bill. 

SB 821 (Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee) – Omnibus Legislation
This bill makes minor, technical, and non-substantive amendments to add clarify and consistence to current Board licensing law.

CAMFT supports this bill.  

Implementation of SB 704
The BBS reported that the BreEZe database is not going live in May, 2013, as expected.  This impacts the BBS’ ability to implement the exam re-structure.   The BBS is going to propose legislation to request a 2-year extension for implementation.  This also delays the conversation to consider the MFT national exam.   

Discussion Regarding Therapist Mandated Reporting of Sexual Activity of Minors
Current law specifies the types of sexual contact that must be reported as child abuse to law enforcement by mandated reporters.   Ben Caldwell, AAMFT-CA, previously presented that the law does not treat other types of sexual activity, including oral copulation and anal sex, in the same manner.

DCA legal counsel found that the child abuse reporting act does not require a mandated reporter to report incidents of consensual sex between minors of a similar age unless there is reasonable suspicion of force, exploitation or other abuse.  Counsel reviewed case law and concluded that courts have determined the legislative intent is to leave the distinction between abusive and non-abusive sexual relations to the judgment of professionals who deal with children.   Further review of other cases found that the law does not require reporting of consensual sexual activities between similarly-aged minors for any sexual acts, unless there is evidence of abuse.   Reporting is required for children under age 14 if it is non-consensual or with someone of another age.  This opinion was shared with the Board of Psychology as well.

Rulemaking Update
Regulations regarding advertising and two-year practice requirement of supervisors of Associate Social Workers were approved by the Office of Administrative Law and became effective April 1, 2013.

Regulations regarding enforcement were approved by the Office of Administrative Law and will become effective on July 1, 2013.

Regulations regarding revisions to the Disciplinary Guidelines were approved by the Office of Administrative Law and will become effective on July 1, 2013.  

Several other regulatory proposals have been submitted or will be submitted shortly.

Future Agenda
CAMFT requested that the issues raised by Title 16, CCR Section 1870 be discussed on a future agenda.  BBS staff indicated that they hope to establish a Supervision Committee late summer, 2013.

Committee members requested to add a discussion of unlicensed practice of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) to a future agenda.