JANUARY 30, 2015

Telehealth Services
A substantial amount of the Committee’s time was spent discussing telehealth generally. Specifically reviewed was telehealth, both inside and outside of California, to determine best courses of action for the regulation of telehealth performed on California residents, and telehealth performed by California-regulated psychotherapists. The Committee took public comment on drafting requirements of telehealth such as encryption, informed consent, and emergency resource communication. The Committee reviewed the draft regulations in light of the feedback submitted by the public, and will revise the regulations to capture the recommendations of the Committee for further comment at the next meeting.

The Committee also discussed possible legislation for 2016, which would codify, for the purposes of clarifying, that trainees indeed can provide telehealth services, which is not specifically spelled out in Bus. & Prof. Code section 2290.5, the section which defines telehealth. However, CAMFT pointed out that they had already secured an author for similar legislation, and as such, the Committee instead decided to bring CAMFT’s legislation to the Board with a recommendation of “support.”

CAMFT thanked the Committee for reviewing the standards and requirements of telehealth, an overdue process which is necessary for clarity to psychotherapists, as well as for consumer protection. CAMFT will continue to watch this process carefully and be a vocal stakeholder in the development of any legislation or regulation.

AB 1629 (2014): Violence Peer Counselors
The Committee discussed AB 1629 (2014) and the requirement for violence-peer counselor reimbursement through the California Victims Compensation Board. The Committee articulated concerns about the lack of clarity surrounding the scope of practice of peer counselors and shared that the CVC Board acknowledged that additional clarity could be amended into the law, if necessary. The Committee will work with the CVC Board on possible clarifying language and put it out to public comment once it is received. CAMFT testified that it, too, had concerns about the lack of clarity of the peer-counselor’s role, as well as concerns for possible consumer harm without greater specificity and training.

AB 2198 (2014): Suicide Prevention
The Committee discussed AB 2198, which was vetoed in 2014, but will likely be reintroduced in 2015. The Committee shared that the BBS was attempting to gain data from LMFT, LCSW and LPCC master’s programs regarding content on suicide assessment training for the purposes of showing that no additional continuing education was necessary. CAMFT stated that they opposed AB 2198 in 2014, and would likely oppose any new introduction of similar legislation. Instead, CAMFT has been requesting that a stakeholder process group to determine whether there is a lack of training, and, if so, where the additional training would best occur.
BBS Proposed Legislation

The BBS has two possible pieces of legislation which will introduced in 2015:

Supervised Work Experience Bill—This bill streamlines the experience requirements for LMFT and LPCC applicants. It eliminates the complex assortment of minimum and maximum hours of differing types of experience required for licensure (also known as the “buckets” of experience) and instead requires 1,750 hours of the experience to be direct clinical counseling hours. The remaining required 1,250 hours may be non¬clinical experience. The bill also makes amendments to LCSW law to allow LCSW applicants to count some direct supervisor contact hours, as well as some hours spent attending workshops, trainings, conferences, and seminars, toward their required experience.

Enforcement Process Bill--This bill makes two separate amendments to the law governing the enforcement process: a) It modifies the Board’s requirements for an individual to petition for a termination of probation or modification of penalty. Under the proposal, the Board may deny a petition without hearing if the petitioner is not in compliance with the terms of his or her probation; b) It clarifies that the Board has jurisdiction to investigate and take disciplinary action even if the status of a license or registration changes or if the license or registration expires.

The goal of these changes is to increase the efficiency of the enforcement process.

Next Meeting: April 24, 2015 in Sacramento, CA.