BBS Update


March 6, 2014

 

By Sara Kashing, Staff Attorney


1. Budget
The Governor’s 2014/2015 budget includes eight (8) additional positions for the Board’s licensing and enforcement units. Board staff will increase from 42.5 positions to 50. Three (3) positions are dedicated to the Licensing Unit and the remaining five (5) will be in the Enforcement Unit.

The Board recognizes the need to address the existing delays in processing examination applications. Consequently, the Board staff met with the Department of Consumer Affairs to explore hiring some of the additional staff prior to the July 1, 2014 effective date. At the end of January, the BBS requested the Department of Consumer Affairs permission to allow it to immediately hire five of the eight positions. The request was granted. Three of those five positions will be dedicated to the licensing program to evaluate examination applications. One position will review applicant’s criminal conviction history. The fifth position will serve as the second enforcement manager. Recruitment efforts are underway and the BBS anticipates the hiring process will be completed by mid-May.

The Governor’s 2014/2015 budget also includes a repayment of $1.4 million to the BBS for monies previously loaned to the General Fund.

2. Operations
The BBS's managers redirected a staff position to process all re-examination applications. This staff person will also research all concerns related to examination eligibility. To assist the cashiering unit, the Board also recruited for one seasonal clerk. A second seasonal clerk will be hired to assist with clerical functions within the enforcement unit.

3. Personnel
Effective January 1, 2014, a member of the BBS staff was promoted to an Analyst to perform duties as the Board's Professional Clinical Counselor Licensing Analyst.

Two other BBS staff members transferred positions to function as a Marriage & Family Therapist (MFT) Evaluators.

As of next week, the BBS will have three full-time employees evaluating applicants’ examination eligibility. This does not include the additional three licensing evaluators that the BBS is currently working to hire.

Executive Director, Kim Madsen, cautioned that it takes about six months to get a staff member fully trained. Ms. Madsen expects that as a result of the staff being added to the licensing unit, the processing delays will be reduced to 90 days by the end of the calendar year.

4. BreEZe Update
Chief Deputy Director Awet Kidane gave an update on the BreEZe update. He indicated the BreEZe system is functioning but that his staff is still working to add enhancements to the system such as the ability to renew licenses and intern registrations online. Mr. Kidane did not provide a timeframe as to when that capability will be available. Ms. Madsen indicated that licensees and registrants will be able to renew online by August of this year.

5. Strategic Plan Update
The 2014-2017 Strategic Plan was adopted at the Board's November meeting. Updates regarding the progress in achieving the goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan will be reported each board meeting. To review a copy of the BBS's 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, go to http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/agen_notice/2014/0314bdmtg_material.pdf

6. Policy and Advocacy Committee Report
Additional items to the Omnibus bill amending Business and Professions Code Sections 4980.36, 4980.399, 4992.09, 4999.55, 4989.16, 4989.22, and 4996.17:

An Omnibus makes minor, technical, or noncontroversial changes to the law. The staff felt it was important to add the following additional amendments to the bill before it goes forward.

The Policy and Advocacy Committee proposed amending Section 4980.46 regarding practicum hours. The amendment would revise the provision to clarify that the additional 75 of client centered advocacy and individual counseling required by the section may be a combination of client centered advocacy and individual as opposed to just 75 hours of one or the other.

The Policy and Advocacy Committee proposed amending Sections 4980.399, 4992.09, and 4999.55 regarding the law and ethics examination to make clear that a registrant will need to take a 12-hour law and ethics course during any renewal period in which the applicant fails the exam. The way the law is currently written, seems to suggest that applicant would only need to take a 12-hour law and ethics course if the law and ethics exam is failed within the initial registration renewal period.

The Policy and Advocacy Committee proposed amending Sections 4980.399, 4992.09, and 4999.55 regarding the law and ethics examination to ensure that those who are in need of a second registration number after the examination restructure has taken place, can receive a second intern registration number even if they have not yet passed the new law and ethics examination, as long as that registrant passes the law and ethics examination during the next renewal period.

The Policy and Advocacy Committee proposed amending Section 4989.16 to include LPPCs. The section, which is part of the LEP licensing law, states that no part of the LEP licensing law is meant to constrict or limit the practice of medicine, nursing, psychology, LMFTs, or LCSWs. LPCCs are not identified in this list. The Committee proposed adding LPCCs to this list, as they are the Board’s newest license type and LPCCs also practice psychotherapy. Their omission from this list is an oversight.

The Policy and Advocacy Committee proposed to amend Section 4989.22 regarding the LEP written licensing exam to refer only to a written exam, which is the only exam required for LEPs. This section mistakenly refers to both the “standard written” exam and the “clinical vignette” exams, which are applicable to the Board’s other three license types, but not LEPs.

The Policy Delete references to the “standard written” and “clinical vignette” licensing exams, as they are not required exams for LEP licensure. to refer only to the LEP written exam. Currently, the language suggests that there is more than one type of exam for the LEP license.
The Policy and Advocacy Committee proposed to amend Section 4996.17 regarding the law and ethics course for Out-of-State LCSW and ASW applicants to clarify that an out-of-state candidate who gained his/her experience out-of-state but obtained his/her education in state would not be required to take another 18-hour law and ethics course because it is reasonable to assume that if they obtained their education in California, they would already be familiar with California’s law and ethics requirements.

The Board motioned to include the additional items and to take the Omnibus bill forward to the legislature.

Revisions to requirements for Out-of-State LMFTs:
The Policy and Advocacy Committee worked with staff and stakeholders to address concerns that the requirements for licensure of Out-of-State LMFTs are too stringent and might prohibit those with licenses in other states from coming to work in California. The proposed changes to the requirements would allow applicants to remediate coursework as well as practicum requirements in certain instances. The proposed revisions would also allow out-of-state applicants to remediate coursework after registering with the Board.

The proposed revisions would give applicants the ability to remediate coursework by taking continuing education courses. Finally, the proposed revisions would clarify the number of hours required for each course to help Out-of-State applicants determine whether the courses they have taken meet the requirements.

The Board motioned to amend the language to make it clear that while certain courses may be remediated at either a university or through a continuing education provider, undergraduate courses would not be accepted. The Board also moved to forward these revisions to the requirements for Out-of-State LMFTs to the legislature.

Revisions to requirements for Out-of-State LPCCs:
A majority of the proposed revisions to the requirements for Out-of-State LPCCs are similar to those changes being proposed to the requirements for Out-of-State LPCCs.

Revisions to the California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Section 1820.5 and 1822; Add sections 1820.6 and 1820.7 LPCCs: Requirements to work with couples and families and supervision plan:

The Policy and Advocacy Committee proposed amending the regulations to require LPCCs to notify the Board by submitting a form when they have completed the specialized education and experience and adding a checkbox to that form so the applicants can indicated that they have obtained the required 500 hours of supervised experience under the supervision of a qualified supervisor.

The Committee also proposed not requiring an PCC licensee and registrant to gain education and experience related to the treatment of couples and families in any particular order. The Committee proposed requiring an Out-of-State PCC licensees to meet the same education and experience requirements as “in-state” PCCs. Finally, the Committee proposed adding language to indicate that an LPCC who is treating child only is working with family members as collaterals.

The Board directed staff to make a regulatory proposal.
Implement Senate Bill 704, Statutes of 2011, Chapter 387, Examination Restructure:

The Board tabled this item until its next meeting. Staff needed more time to work on this item. Tabling the item will not interfere with the examination restructure or its timing.

7. SB 1441, Statutes of 2008, Chapter 548, Uniform Standards for Substance Abusing Licensees
This creates uniform standards for discipline that the boards must follow in cases of licensee or registrant substance abuse. The proposal was prompted by a concern at the Legislature that there is a lack of a consistent policy across DCA’s healing arts boards for handling cases that involve licensees or registrants who abuse drugs or alcohol.

8. Legislative Update

AB 2213 (Eggman): LMFT and LPCC Out-Of-State Applicant Requirements:

Licensing requirements for out-of-state LMFT and LPCC applicants were set to change on January 1, 2014. However, the Board was concerned the new out-of state requirements may be too stringent, restricting portability of these license types to California. Last year, the Board sponsored AB 451 (Chapter 551, Statutes of 2013), which extended the change to the out-of-state licensing requirements from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2016. For the past year, the Board’s newly formed Out-of-State Education Committee has been working to formulate new out-of-state requirements that better accommodate license portability, while still maintaining consumer protection. As mentioned above, the Board directed staff to sponsor legislation to make the changes.

The 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. It also allows certain coursework to be remediated while registered as an intern.

AB 1843 (Jones and Gordon): Child Custody Evaluations: Confidentiality:

This bill proposal would allow the Board 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. Currently, the law does not give the Board direct access to the child custody evaluation report. This Board’s concern is that the current process makes it difficult for the Board to investigate allegations of unprofessional conduct of its licensees while they are serving as a custody evaluator, even though the Board is mandated to do so by law.

This is currently a spot bill and the Board has planned several stakeholder meetings to address any concerns stakeholders may have.
Omnibus Legislation (Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee) No bill number assigned yet:
This bill proposal, approved by the Board at its November 21, 2013 meeting, makes minor, technical, and non-substantive amendments to add clarity and consistency to current licensing law.

9. Rulemaking Update
Continuing Education: Amend Title 16, California Code of Regulations (CCR) Sections 1887, 1887.1, 1887.3, 1887.4, 1887.11; Add Sections 1887.41, 1887.42, 1887.43; Delete Sections 1887.6, 1887.7, 1887.8, 1887.9, 1887.10, 1887.13, 1887.14:

This proposal would make a number of changes to the Board’s continuing education program. These proposed changes are based on the recommendations of the Board’s Continuing Education Committee, which was formed in 2011 in response to a number of concerns raised about continuing education. The proposal was approved by the Board at its meeting on February 28, 2013. The Notice was filed with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and the 45-day public comment period has ended. The public hearing for this proposal was on October 22, 2013. This proposal is currently under review by the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.

Disciplinary Guidelines and SB 1441: Uniform Standards for Substance Abuse: Amend Title 16, CCR Section 1888:
This is a regulatory proposal that the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and the Legislature asked all healing arts licensing boards to pursue. It creates uniform standards for discipline that the boards must follow in cases of licensee or registrant substance abuse. The proposal was prompted by a concern at the Legislature that there is a lack of a consistent policy across DCA’s healing arts boards for handling cases that involve licensees or registrants who abuse drugs or alcohol.

The Board directed staff to submit the proposal to OAL for publication in the California Regulatory Notice Register, which will begin the 45-day public comment period.

Requirements for LPPCs to Treat Couples or Families: Amend Title 16, CCR Sections 1820.5 and 1822; Add Sections 1820.6 and 1820.7

This proposal clarifies requirements for LPCCs to treat couples and families, and outlines a process by which LPCCs and PCC Interns would receive Board confirmation that they have met the requirements to treat couples and families. The Board has received numerous questions about how applicants should verify that they meet the requirements.

The Policy and Advocacy Committee proposed asking LPCCs to notify the Board by submitting a form when they have completed the specialized education and experience and adding a checkbox to that form so the applicants can indicated that they have obtained the required 500 hours of supervised experience under the supervision of a qualified supervisor.

The Committee also proposed not requiring an PCC licensee and registrant to gain education and experience related to the treatment of couples and families in any particular order. The Committee proposed requiring an Out-of-State PCC licensees to meet the same education and experience requirements as “in-state” PCCs. Finally, the Committee proposed adding language to indicate that an LPCC who is treating child only is working with family members as collaterals.

The initial proposal was approved by the Board at its meeting on November 28, 2012. However, this proposal was placed on hold, and an amended version was approved by the Policy and Advocacy Committee at its meeting in February 2014.
The Board directed staff to submit the proposal to OAL for publication, which will begin the 45-day public comment period.

Implementation of SB 704 (Examination Restructure): Amend Title 16, CCR Sections 1805, 1806, 1816, 1816.2, 1816.3, 1816.4, 1816.5, 1816.6, 1816.7, 1829, 1877; Add Sections 1805.01, 1822.5, 1822.6, 1830, 1878:
This proposal revises current Board regulations for clarity and consistency with statutory changes made by SB 704 (Chapter 387, Statutes of 2011), which restructures the examination process for LMFT, LCSW, and LPCC applicants effective January 1, 2016.

The proposal was originally approved by the Board at its meeting in February 2013, and published in its California Regulatory Notice Register on March 15, 2013. However, the proposal was withdrawn in May 2013, as staff learned of implementation conflicts with the new BreEZe database system. For this reason, the effective date of the restructure was delayed until 2016, per SB 821 (Chapter 473, Statutes of 2013).

A revised proposal was approved by the Policy and Advocacy Committee at its meeting in February 2014. Staff plans to bring this proposal for consideration by the Board at its meeting in May 2014 once additional details have been worked through.