BBS Update


November 20, 2013

Catherine Atkins, JD
Deputy Chief Executive Officer

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Budget
As of September 30, 2013, the Board had spent $1,707,636 reflecting 21 percent of the total budget, $8,063,000. This budget is a slight decrease from last year’s budget. Reductions in the Board’s equipment replacement costs and department pro rata costs can be attributed to the slight decrease.

The Board’s loan balance to the General Fund is $12.3 million. Repayment of the $6 million loaned to the General Fund during the 2002 Budget Act is scheduled to occur in multiple fiscal years. These fiscal years are not specified. Repayment of the $6 million loaned to the General Fund during the 2008 and 2011 Budget Act is scheduled for fiscal year 2015/2016.

Operations
There is currently one vacancy in the Licensing Unit. This position will function as a LPCC Licensing Analyst in the Licensing Unit. The Board has begun recruitment and the vacancy has been advertised. The Licensing Manager is currently reviewing the candidate applications and interviews will be scheduled soon. The Board anticipates filling this vacancy by December 2013.

This quarter the BBS saw a 53% increase in MFT Intern applications, and a 27% decrease in MFT Examination applications. The MFT Exam Application processing is currently at 217 days, which is 15 days longer than in the second quarter of 2013. The LCSW Exam application processing is at 189 days, which is 11 days shorter than in the second quarter. Stakeholder groups raised concerns about the delays, while acknowledging the hard work of BBS staff.

The Enforcement staff received 206 consumer complaints and 315 criminal convictions representing a 12 percent decrease and 28 percent increase respectively from the previous quarter. There were 534 cases closed this quarter and 29 cases were referred to the Attorney General’s office for formal discipline.

As of July 1, 2013, there are 33,713 LMFTs, 16,385 MFT Interns, 20,076 LCSWs, and 427 LPCCs.

BREEZE
The BreEZe system is now in place. Currently, services include filing a complaint, verifying a license, and paying any outstanding fines. In four months, all BBS license types will be able to renew their license or registration online. In six months, all BBS license types will be able to change their address, ask for a re-scoring of their examination, or apply for a retake of their LPCC Grandpareting exam. The Exam Eligibility applications will be available after the BBS’ exam restructure is implemented, a date we have not yet been given.

LPCC Grandparenting
In the third quarter, 825 LPCC grandparent applications from LMFTs were approved, bringing the total number of applications approved via the grandparenting process to 1782. (Note: “approved” means the applicant has satisfied all requirements for licensure.)

All LPCC grandparent applications have now been reviewed. As of November 8, 2013, there are 500

LPCCs and 566 Professional Clinical Counselors.

Legislation
AB 186 (Maienschein) – Military Spouses; Temporary License
This 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 BBS voted to oppose unless amended to require the applicant to provide a transcript to the Board, to allow delayed implementation to accommodate DCA’s transition to the BreEZe database system, and to require the applicant to pass the California law and ethics examination prior to issuance of a temporary license.

To date, the requested amendments have not been made. This bill is now a two-year bill.

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

The Board took no position. This bill is now a two-year bill.

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 agencies do not misuse the title.

CAMFT noted 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 the agencies to make the requisite title changes. Furthermore, CAMFT believes the enforcement remedy is too severe and recommends agencies be allowed to take corrective action once they are aware of the possible charge before charges are instituted. NASW-CA indicated it would be open to modifying the enforcement mechanism and delaying the implementation.

The Board adopted a “support if amended” position on this bill, and requested several specific amendments be made. This bill is now a two-year bill.

AB 376 (Donnelly) – Regulations; Notice
This 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 Board voted to oppose this bill. This bill is now a two-year 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 Board opted to take no position on this bill at its May 23, 2013 meeting, but directed staff to provide technical support to the author’s office on specified points. Staff has provided the author’s office with the Board’s feedback.

This is a two year bill.

AB 809 (Logue) – Telehealth
This bill allows the verbal consent to telehealth given by the patient at its initial use to apply in any subsequent use of telehealth. However, it does not correct another problem that requires the heath care provider to obtain the verbal consent at the originating site (the location of the patient), which seems contrary to the purpose of telehealth. The author is still working to resolve this issue in a subsequent version of the bill. This bill is an urgency measure, which means it would become effective immediately upon signature by the Governor.

The Board took no position on the bill. This bill is now a two year 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 Board voted to support this bill. This bill is now a two year 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 Board voted to support this bill. This bill was signed by the Governor.

SB 243 (Wyland) – LPCC
This bill amends the requirements for an LPCC who opts to treat couples and families so that the required training and education does not need to be in addition to the minimum training and education required for licensure. The intent of the original bill was that this training and coursework may be taken as part of the education and experience required for licensure. The bill also references that the licensee have not
less than 1750 hours of direct counseling with individuals, groups, couples or families.

The Board voted to support the bill. The bill was signed by the Governor.

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 to be accompanied by an authorization to disclose medical information to the malpractice insurer.

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

The Board voted to recommend support if amended to include LCSWs and LPCCs. The bill was not amended. The bill was signed into law by the Governor.

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.

The Board voted to support the bill if amended to remove the reference to BPC section 4983. This bill is now a two-year 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. This bill has passed through the Assembly and has been referred to the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee.

CAMFT supports this bill. This bill was signed by the Governor.

AB 428 (Eggman) – LMFT and LCSW
This bill would allow LMFT and LCSW applicants to remediate certain degree deficiencies.

CAMFT supports this bill. This bill was signed by the Governor.

AB 451 (Eggman) – LMFT and 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 and is now in the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee. CAMFT supports this bill.

The Board voted to delay the implementation to January 1, 2016, due to delays in the BreEZe database system. This bill was signed by the Governor.

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

While CAMFT was originally opposed to this bill, we have removed our opposition if language is inserted regarding the qualifications of the subject-matter experts reviewing any disciplinary actions, and privacy standards of the reports are put into place.

This bill is now a two year bill.

SB 821 (Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee) – Omnibus Legislation
This bill makes minor, technical and non-substantive amendments to add clarity and consistency to current Board licensing law. This bill has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

CAMFT supports this bill. This bill was signed by the Governor.

Proposed 2014 Legislation
The BBS will be sponsoring an omnibus bill (meaning only minor, non-controversial changes). Within an omnibus package, the BBS would begin changing "MFT" to "LMFT" throughout the licensing law. Also included would be language which would clarify that the Board can take disciplinary action against all licensees/registrants, regardless of the status of their license (i.e., inactive or retired.) While CAMFT would not likely oppose this suggestion, it does seem to be somewhat controversial and as such, will monitor this bill closely.

The BBS will also include in the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee omnibus package, clean up language clarifying that registrants whose renewal date falls within six months of the L&E examination restructure effective date, to have extra time (likely six months) to take and pass the examination. This will ensure the registrant has adequate advance notice to sign up for and prepare for the exam.

Rulemaking Update
SB 363 (Chapter 384, Statutes of 2011) limited the number of client-centered advocacy hours for a marriage and family therapist intern to 500 hours.

This proposal deletes a provision of Board regulations that conflicts with SB 363 and that is no longer needed due to the new legislative provisions enacted by SB 363. This proposal also deletes an outdated provision in Section 1833 regarding crisis counseling on the telephone that directly conflicts with telehealth provisions in LMFT licensing law.

This proposal was approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and filed with the Secretary of State on July 15, 2013. It became effective on October 1, 2013.

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

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

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

BBS Strategic Plan
The Board presented their 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. It had fascinating content about the history of the profession, including that the BBS came into existence in 1963 when it became a necessity to administer the Marriage, Family and Child Counseling Act. Six years later the Social Worker program was established. To learn more, you can view their Plan at: http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/agen_notice/2013/1113_bdmtg_material.pdf

Presentations
The BBS presented the issue of "exempt settings" within the field and concerns regarding consumer protection. Exempt settings are not currently required to have registrants or licensed providers to provide "counseling" to the public. There have been concerns expressed about the lower standards of these services and whether this poses a consumer protection issue. The BBS pointed out that those working at "exempt" settings who aren't registered or licensed, are not regulated and as such, the BBS has no jurisdiction over them If there Is a consumer protection issue or violation of any standards of care. The BBS will be forming a Committee to vet this issue further.

The BBS presented the issue of ESL test taking accommodations. Historically, the BBS did provide testing accommodations for English as second language test takers, however that policy was changed a few years ago. The Board voted to put this topic out for further discussion at the next Policy and Advocacy Committee meeting.

An OSHPDCP Sub-Committee did a presentation on the LPCC license within County mental health agencies and facilities.

Out-Of-State Education Review Committee Update
This Committee has met four times this year to discuss the potential barriers to licensure that out-of-state applicants may face after January 1, 2014 since they will no longer be eligible to remediate required coursework through continuing education programs. Ten percent of LMFT applications and 35 percent of LPCC applications are from out-of-state.

Future Board Meeting Dates
March 5-6, 2014—Sacramento
May 21-22, 2014—Southern California
August 20-21, 2014—Sacramento
November 19-20, 2014—Southern California