BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:   April 14, 2015


                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS


                                Susan Bonilla, Chair


          AB 1374   
          Levine - As Amended April 6, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Psychologists:  licensure. 


          SUMMARY:  Revises the submission requirements for Verification  
          of Experience (VOE) Forms and permits applicants for a  
          psychology license to submit a (VOE) directly to the Board of  
          Psychology (BOP); deletes the requirement that a licensed  
          psychologist or an individual in an exempt setting may only  
          practice psychology for a fee; and, clarifies that an applicant  
          who has acquired supervised experience in Canada can submit a  
          VOE directly to the BOP.  This bill makes other technical and  
          clarifying amendments.


          EXISTING LAW


          1)Prohibits a person from engaging in the practice of  
            psychology, or representing himself or herself to be a  
            psychologist, without a license unless specifically exempt.   
            (Business and Professions Code (BPC) Section 2903)

          2)Defines "the practice of psychology" to mean "rendering or  
            offering to render for a fee to individuals, groups,  
            organizations or the public any psychological service  
            involving the application of psychological principles,  








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            methods, and procedures of understanding, predicting, and  
            influencing behavior, such as the principles pertaining to  
            learning, perception, motivation, emotions, and interpersonal  
            relationships as specified."  (BPC Section 2903)





          3)Requires an applicant for licensure to comply with all of the  
            following requirements:  (Business and Professions Code (BPC)  
            Section 2914(a-g))


             a)   Is not subject to denial of licensure;


             b)   Possesses an earned doctorate degree in a specified  
               field from an accredited institution;


             c)   Has engaged for at least two years in supervised  
               professional experience under the direction of a licensed  
               psychologist, as specified in the BOP's regulations.





             d)   Takes and passes the required examination, unless  
               exempted;


             e)   Shows by satisfactory evidence that he or she has  
               completed training in the detection and treatment of  
               alcohol and other chemical substance dependency;


             f)   Shows by evidence that he or she has completed  








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               coursework in spousal or partner abuse assessment,  
               detection and intervention, as specified, and may request a  
               waiver if he or she intends to practice in an area that  
               does not include the direct provision of mental health  
               services; and, 





             g)   Indicates that an applicant holding a doctoral degree in  
               psychology from an approved institution is deemed to meet  
               licensing requirements if specified conditions are met. 

          4)If a supervising licensed psychologist fails to provide the  
            VOE for an applicant to the BOP within 30 days after being  
            requested, the applicant may provide written verification  
            directly to the BOP.  (BPC 2914(c))



          5)Requires an applicant who sends a VOE directly to the BOP to  
            file a declaration of proof of service, under penalty of  
            perjury; as specified.  (BPC 2914(c))



          6)Specifies that, upon receipt of a VOE by the BOP, , the  
            supervising psychologist has 20 days from the day the BOP  
            receives the verification and declaration to file a rebuttal  
            with the board.  (BPC 2914(c))


          7)States that only an applicant who has acquired the required  
            experience in the United States can submit a VOE directly to  
            the BOP.  (BPC 2914(c))











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          THIS BILL


          1) Deletes the requirement that psychological services be  
            provided for a fee.


          2)Revises the application of psychological principals and  
            methods to instead include assessment and intervention in  
            order to increase effective functioning of individuals,  
            groups, and organizations.


          3)Replaces the term "maladjustive" with "maladaptive."


          4)Deletes the definition of "fee."


          5)Deletes the monetary restriction for specified individuals  
            performing services of a psychological nature.


          6)Revises the method by which VOEs are submitted to the BOP to  
            allow an applicant to submit the VOE to the BOP directly if  
            the supervisor fails to submit the form.  


          7)Deletes the requirement for an applicant to file a proof of  
            service under penalty of perjury, as specified, and the  
            supervisor rebuttal procedures.  


          8)Permits an applicant who acquired experience in Canada to file  
            a VOE directly with the BOP.


          9)Provides that no reimbursement is required by this bill  








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            pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIIB of the California  
            Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a  
            local agency or school district will be incurred because this  
            act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or  
            infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction.

          10)Makes other technical and clarifying changes.



          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.  This bill is keyed fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel.   


          COMMENTS


          1)Purpose. This bill is sponsored by the  BOP  .  According to the  
            author, "[This bill] saves [BOP] resources by allowing an  
            applicant to be [the] sole [provider] of a complete  
            application for licensure.  [This] bill also seeks to remove  
            any apparent limitation on psychologists providing volunteer  
            service is contrary to the public good [which] could limit  
            qualified licensees providing such services."

          2)Background.  This bill attempts to address three separate  
            issues: 1) how VOE forms may be submitted to the BOP; 2)  
            allowing psychological services to be performed without  
            collecting a fee; and, 3) permitting VOE forms to be submitted  
            by an applicant who has acquired the supervised experience in  
            Canada as well as the United States.  



            Psychologists and Fees for Services.  The practice of  
            psychology is defined as rendering or offering to render, for  
            a fee, any psychological services.  Licensed psychologists may  
            practice independently in any private or public setting using  
            psychological methods to diagnose, treat, prevent, and  








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            ameliorate emotional and mental disorders of individuals and  
            groups.  There are currently 20,000 licensed psychologists in  
            California.  


            According to the BOP, requiring that psychological services  
            can only be provided for a fee potentially limits a licensed  
            psychologist's ability to provide voluntary or pro bono  
            psychology services.  By removing the reference to a fee in  
            the definition of the practice of psychology it will allow  
            individuals to provide free services of a psychological nature  
            while under the jurisdiction of the BOP.  Settings where free  
            services may be provided could include non-profits, health  
            clinics or suicide prevention hotlines.  





            According to the sponsor, this bill also deletes any reference  
            to the prohibition on fees, monetary or otherwise, which  
            cannot be charged by those individuals working in exempt  
            settings, such as an educational institution (approved or  
            accredited), a school district, or a governmental entity.   
            This bill aims to make it clear that exempt setting employers  
            are able to determine the appropriate compensation level  
            without the involvement of the BOP.  





            Licensure Requirements and the Application Process.  Licensed  
            psychologists are required to obtain a doctoral degree from an  
            accredited institution in psychology, educational psychology,  
            or in a field specializing in counseling psychology or  
            educational psychology.  Psychologists are required to  
            complete 3000 hours (minimum two-years) of supervised  
            experience, of which 1500 must be completed after obtaining a  








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            doctoral degree.  Many post-doctoral psychologists gain  
            supervision experience requirements while employed at schools,  
            colleges or universities and government entities, which  
            provide opportunities to gain the required supervisory hours  
            needed for licensure.  





            There are numerous steps in the application process for  
            licensure.  Applicants are required to submit verification of  
            the completion of education, passage of required  
            examination(s), along with the proof of the required  
            supervised experience.  While an applicant is generally  
            responsible for submitting the majority of the required  
            documentation, applicants typically do not submit the VOE form  
            themselves.  Current law requires the licensed supervisor to  
            submit the documentation directly to the BOP within 30 days of  
            an applicant's request and provides a remedy for the applicant  
            if the supervisor does not follow through.  If the VOE is not  
            submitted within the 30 days, an applicant, under penalty of  
            perjury, can submit the VOE directly to the BOP and the  
            supervisor will then have twenty days to submit a rebuttal.   
            According to the BOP, VOE forms are often sent to the BOP  
            separately from an individual's application by every primary  
            supervisor verifying a portion of the required hours of  
            experience meaning that multiple VOE forms could be submitted  
            at different times for each applicant separately from the rest  
            of the licensure application.


            According to the BOP, in an effort to eliminate the lengthy  
            application process and to ensure that VOE forms are submitted  
            more consistently with applications for licensure, this bill  
            will revise the existing process and permit applicants to  
            submit VOE forms directly to the BOP and remove the  
            requirement that a supervisor must submit the form.  This  
            potentially results in the BOP saving storage space and  








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            possibly reducing processing times for BOP staff to combine  
            the various components of an individual's application. 


            Current law specifies that only applicants who have acquired  
            supervised experience hours in the United States can submit  
            their VOE forms directly to the BOP.  However, the BOP reports  
            that it accepts experience hours from both the United States  
            and Canada and this bill will clarify that the BOP may accept  
            a VOE from an applicant who has gained experience in Canada as  
            well as in the United States. 


          3)Current Related Legislation.  AB 705 (Eggman) of the current  
            legislative session, Requires individuals performing  
            psychological activities, within specified exempt settings, to  
            work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist;  
            accumulate the supervised hours required for licensure; and,  
            become licensed within five years.  This bill also makes other  
            technical and clarifying amendments.  STATUS: This bill is  
            pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


            SB 800 (Committee on Business, Professions and Economic  
            Development) of the current legislative session, makes  
            numerous substantive and non-controversial changes to numerous  
            healing arts boards, including the BOP, under the DCA.   
            STATUS: This bill is pending in the Senate Business and  
            Professions Committee. 


          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT 


          The  BOP  writes in support, "The [BOP] supports [this bill] which  
          will make the [BOP's] receipt of application forms more  
          efficient."  










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          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION


          None on file. 


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Board of Psychology (sponsor)




          Opposition


          None on file. 




          Analysis Prepared by:Elissa Silva / B. & P. / (916) 319-3301



















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