BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON
          BUSINESS, PROFESSIONS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                              Senator Jerry Hill, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:            AB 1374         Hearing Date:    June 8,  
          2015
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          |Author:   |Levine                                                |
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          |Version:  |June 1, 2015                                          |
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          |Urgency:  |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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          |Consultant|Sarah Huchel                                          |
          |:         |                                                      |
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                         Subject:  Psychologists: licensure.


          SUMMARY:  Eliminates the requirement for a fee in the practice of  
          psychology, revises terms related to the practice of psychology,  
          amends the process by which an applicant submits a verification  
          of experience (VOE) to the Board of Psychology (BOP), and makes  
          technical and clarifying changes.    

          Existing law:
          
          1)Establishes the BOP to administer and enforce the Psychology  
            Licensing Law.  (Business and Professions Code (BPC)  2920)

          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,  
            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  2903)

          3)Establishes licensure requirements, including that an  
            applicant:  


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







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             b)   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.

             c)   Takes and passes the required examination, unless  
               exempted.  (BPC  2914)

          4)States that if a supervising licensed psychologist (SLP) 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 SLP 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))

          This bill:

          1) Strikes the requirement of a fee from the definition of the  
             practice of psychology and in allied sections of law.

          2) Revises examples of the application of psychological  
             principles and methods to include "assessment" and  
             "intervention in order to increase effective functioning of  
             individuals, groups, and organizations," and strikes  
             "amelioration of psychological problems and emotional and  
             mental disorders of individuals and groups."

          3) Replaces "maladjustive" with "maladaptive" in reference to  
             the use of psychotherapy to assist a person to modify  
             feelings, conditions, attitudes, and behaviors which are  








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             emotionally, intellectually, or socially ineffectual or  
             maladaptive.

          4) Removes the ability for an applicant to submit the VOE to the  
             BOP directly if the SLP fails to provide verification to the  
             BOP.


          5) Requires the SLP to submit VOE to the trainee in the manner  
             prescribed by the BOP.


          6) States that if the SLP fails to provide VOE to the trainee in  
             a timely manner, the BOP may establish alternative procedures  
             for obtaining the necessary documentation.  


          7) States that, absent good cause, the failure of a SLP to  
             provide VOE to the BOP upon request shall constitute  
             unprofessional conduct.


          8) Strikes reference to the BOP reviewing and approving  
             applicants as a SLP on a case-by-case basis.


          9) Makes technical and clarifying changes.

          
          FISCAL  
          EFFECT:  This measure is keyed "fiscal" by Legislative Counsel.   
          According to the Assembly Appropriations analysis, dated April  
          22, 2015, negligible state fiscal effect.  The streamlining of  
          verification of experience requirements may lead to minor  
          administrative efficiencies.  

          
          COMMENTS:
          
          1.Purpose.  This bill is sponsored by the  California Board of  
            Psychology  .  According to the Author's office, this bill  
            simplifies the application process to become a licensed  
            psychologist by requiring the SLP to provide the VOE to the  
            applicant directly, rather than to the BOP, so that the  








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            applicant may submit a complete application towards licensure.  
             This bill also removes fee language from the code, clarifying  
            that a psychologist can provide psychological services for  
            free, and updates terms defining the practice of psychology to  
            make the definition more applicable to a general license  
            versus a focus on mental health.    

          2.Background.  The BOP is one of 30 regulatory entities which  
            fall under the Department of Consumer Affairs.  The BOP  
            protects consumers by regulating the practice of psychology  
            through the licensing and registration of psychological  
            assistants and psychologists.

             This bill streamlines the psychology licensing process by  
             requiring SLPs to provide the VOE directly to the applicant  
             instead of sending it to the BOP.  The BOP reports that they  
             frequently receive VOEs from individuals who never formally  
             apply, and keeping track of information from various sources  
             has become too complex.  

             Previously, SLPs provided the VOE to the BOP, and the BOP  
             paired this information with the rest of the application  
             submitted separately by the applicant.  If an SLP failed to  
             provide the VOE, there was a mechanism for the applicant to  
             submit the VOE directly to the BOP.  This bill instead will  
             require the SLP to provide the information to the applicant,  
             and then the applicant will submit the VOE to the BOP with  
             the rest of the application.  If a SLP does not provide the  
             VOE to the applicant, this bill authorizes the BOP to  
             establish alternative procedures for obtaining the necessary  
             documentation, and states that failure of an SLP to provide  
             the VOE to the BOP upon request will be considered  
             unprofessional conduct.  

             This bill additionally removes references to fees in  
             psychology practice, clarifying that psychologists may  
             practice for free, and that practicing for free does not  
             relieve an individual from regulation.  The author's office  
             indicates that this bill will clarify that insurers may cover  
             a psychologist who does not receive payment for his or her  
             services. 

          3.Technical Amendments.  This bill contains outdated references  
            to psychometrics, which is no longer regulated in California.   








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             a)   On page 4, line 35, delete "'psychologist,'  
               'psychometry,'" and insert "or 'psychologist.'"

             b)   On page 4, delete line 36. 

          4.Related legislation.   AB 705  (Eggman) of 2015 amends the  
            Psychology Practice Act to require employees in exempt  
            settings to be supervised by a licensed psychologist and  
            become licensed within five years of being hired.  (  Status  :  
            This bill will be heard in the Senate Committee on Business,  
            Professions, and Economic Development Committee on June 8,  
            2015.)
             
              AB 773  (Baker) of 2015 makes technical changes to the  
             expiration date of a psychologist license. (  Status  :  This  
             bill will be heard in the Senate Committee on Business,  
             Professions, and Economic Development Committee on June 8,  
             2015.)

              SB 479  (Bates) of 2015 creates a Behavioral Analyst license  
             to be regulated by the BOP.  (  Status  : This bill will be heard  
             in the Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and  
             Economic Development Committee on June 8, 2015.)

          5.Arguments in Support.  The  California Board of Psychology   
            writes, ["the requirement in current law that VOE forms be  
            submitted by the applicant's supervisor has resulted in] the  
            Board storing large quantities of VOEs that have not had the  
            remaining parts of the licensing application submitted by the  
            applicant. This creates a storage problem and generates extra  
            workload as it becomes necessary to combine applications for  
            licensure with the previously submitted VOE Forms. The result  
            of this legislative change will be VOE Forms arriving with the  
            rest of the licensing application.  This will save storage  
            space at the Board and reduce the time staff takes to locate  
            and combine the various pieces of the application, thus  
            reducing licensing timeframes. 

             "[Current law also] defines the practice of psychology as  
             only occurring when a fee is charged for services. This means  
             that volunteer, pro-bono, or free services could fall outside  
             of a licensee's insurance, and as a result, disincentivize  








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             volunteer pro-bono work by licensed psychologists, making  
             payment rather than services provided central to what  
             constitutes the practice of psychology. The primary function  
             of the Board is consumer protection and a consumer should  
             have no doubt that the psychological services he or she is  
             receiving fall under the Board's jurisdiction. The Board's  
             mission is to advance quality psychological services for  
             Californians by ensuring ethical and legal practice and  
             supporting the evolution of the profession."
          

          SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION:
          
           Support:  

          California Board of Psychology (Sponsor)
          California Psychological Association

           Opposition:  

          None on file as of June 2, 2015.
           
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