Bill Text: VA SB1694 | 2019 | Regular Session | Enrolled


Bill Title: Qualified mental health professionals; regulations for registration.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Passed) 2019-02-21 - Governor: Approved by Governor-Chapter 101 (effective 7/1/19) [SB1694 Detail]

Download: Virginia-2019-SB1694-Enrolled.html

VIRGINIA ACTS OF ASSEMBLY -- CHAPTER
An Act to amend and reenact §§54.1-2400.1, 54.1-3500, and 54.1-3505 of the Code of Virginia, relating to the Board of Counseling; qualified mental health professionals.
[S 1694]
Approved

 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That §§54.1-2400.1, 54.1-3500, and 54.1-3505 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

§54.1-2400.1. Mental health service providers; duty to protect third parties; immunity.

A. As used in this section:

"Certified substance abuse counselor" means a person certified to provide substance abuse counseling in a state-approved public or private substance abuse program or facility.

"Client" or "patient" means any person who is voluntarily or involuntarily receiving mental health services or substance abuse services from any mental health service provider.

"Clinical psychologist" means a person who practices clinical psychology as defined in §54.1-3600.

"Clinical social worker" means a person who practices social work as defined in §54.1-3700.

"Licensed practical nurse" means a person licensed to practice practical nursing as defined in §54.1-3000.

"Licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner" means any person licensed to engage in the practice of substance abuse treatment as defined in §54.1-3500.

"Marriage and family therapist" means a person licensed to engage in the practice of marriage and family therapy as defined in §54.1-3500.

"Mental health professional" means a person who by education and experience is professionally qualified and licensed in Virginia to provide counseling interventions designed to facilitate an individual's achievement of human development goals and remediate mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders and associated distresses which interfere with mental health and development.

"Mental health service provider" or "provider" refers to any of the following: (i) a person who provides professional services as a certified substance abuse counselor, clinical psychologist, clinical social worker, licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner, licensed practical nurse, marriage and family therapist, mental health professional, physician, physician assistant, professional counselor, psychologist, qualified mental health professional, registered nurse, registered peer recovery specialist, school psychologist, or social worker; (ii) a professional corporation, all of whose shareholders or members are so licensed; or (iii) a partnership, all of whose partners are so licensed.

"Professional counselor" means a person who practices counseling as defined in §54.1-3500.

"Psychologist" means a person who practices psychology as defined in §54.1-3600.

"Qualified mental health professional" means a person who by education and experience is professionally qualified and registered by the Board of Counseling to provide collaborative mental health services for adults or children. A qualified mental health professional shall provide such services as an employee or independent contractor of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Department of Corrections, or a provider licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services has the same meaning as provided in §54.1-3500.

"Registered nurse" means a person licensed to practice professional nursing as defined in §54.1-3000.

"Registered peer recovery specialist" means a person who by education and experience is professionally qualified and registered by the Board of Counseling to provide collaborative services to assist individuals in achieving sustained recovery from the effects of addiction or mental illness, or both. A registered peer recovery specialist shall provide such services as an employee or independent contractor of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, a provider licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, a practitioner licensed by or holding a permit issued from the Department of Health Professions, or a facility licensed by the Department of Health.

"School psychologist" means a person who practices school psychology as defined in §54.1-3600.

"Social worker" means a person who practices social work as defined in §54.1-3700.

B. A mental health service provider has a duty to take precautions to protect third parties from violent behavior or other serious harm only when the client has orally, in writing, or via sign language, communicated to the provider a specific and immediate threat to cause serious bodily injury or death to an identified or readily identifiable person or persons, if the provider reasonably believes, or should believe according to the standards of his profession, that the client has the intent and ability to carry out that threat immediately or imminently. If the third party is a child, in addition to taking precautions to protect the child from the behaviors in the above types of threats, the provider also has a duty to take precautions to protect the child if the client threatens to engage in behaviors that would constitute physical abuse or sexual abuse as defined in §18.2-67.10. The duty to protect does not attach unless the threat has been communicated to the provider by the threatening client while the provider is engaged in his professional duties.

C. The duty set forth in subsection B is discharged by a mental health service provider who takes one or more of the following actions:

1. Seeks involuntary admission of the client under Article 16 (§16.1-335 et seq.) of Chapter 11 of Title 16.1 or Chapter 8 (§37.2-800 et seq.) of Title 37.2.

2. Makes reasonable attempts to warn the potential victims or the parent or guardian of the potential victim if the potential victim is under the age of 18.

3. Makes reasonable efforts to notify a law-enforcement official having jurisdiction in the client's or potential victim's place of residence or place of work, or place of work of the parent or guardian if the potential victim is under age 18, or both.

4. Takes steps reasonably available to the provider to prevent the client from using physical violence or other means of harm to others until the appropriate law-enforcement agency can be summoned and takes custody of the client.

5. Provides therapy or counseling to the client or patient in the session in which the threat has been communicated until the mental health service provider reasonably believes that the client no longer has the intent or the ability to carry out the threat.

6. In the case of a registered peer recovery specialist, or a qualified mental health professional who is not otherwise licensed by a health regulatory board at the Department of Health Professions, reports immediately to a licensed mental health service provider to take one or more of the actions set forth in this subsection.

D. A mental health service provider shall not be held civilly liable to any person for:

1. Breaching confidentiality with the limited purpose of protecting third parties by communicating the threats described in subsection B made by his clients to potential third party victims or law-enforcement agencies or by taking any of the actions specified in subsection C.

2. Failing to predict, in the absence of a threat described in subsection B, that the client would cause the third party serious physical harm.

3. Failing to take precautions other than those enumerated in subsection C to protect a potential third party victim from the client's violent behavior.

§54.1-3500. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Appraisal activities" means the exercise of professional judgment based on observations and objective assessments of a client's behavior to evaluate current functioning, diagnose, and select appropriate treatment required to remediate identified problems or to make appropriate referrals.

"Board" means the Board of Counseling.

"Certified substance abuse counseling assistant" means a person certified by the Board to practice in accordance with the provisions of §54.1-3507.2.

"Certified substance abuse counselor" means a person certified by the Board to practice in accordance with the provisions of § 54.1-3507.1.

"Counseling" means the application of principles, standards, and methods of the counseling profession in (i) conducting assessments and diagnoses for the purpose of establishing treatment goals and objectives and (ii) planning, implementing, and evaluating treatment plans using treatment interventions to facilitate human development and to identify and remediate mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders and associated distresses that interfere with mental health.

"Licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner" means a person who: (i) is trained in and engages in the practice of substance abuse treatment with individuals or groups of individuals suffering from the effects of substance abuse or dependence, and in the prevention of substance abuse or dependence; and (ii) is licensed to provide advanced substance abuse treatment and independent, direct, and unsupervised treatment to such individuals or groups of individuals, and to plan, evaluate, supervise, and direct substance abuse treatment provided by others.

"Marriage and family therapist" means a person trained in the appraisal and treatment of cognitive, affective, or behavioral mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage and family systems through the application of therapeutic and family systems theories and techniques.

"Marriage and family therapy" means the appraisal and treatment of cognitive, affective, or behavioral mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage and family systems through the application of therapeutic and family systems theories and techniques and delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families, singularly or in groups, for the purpose of treating such disorders.

"Practice of counseling" means rendering or offering to render to individuals, groups, organizations, or the general public any service involving the application of principles, standards, and methods of the counseling profession, which shall include appraisal, counseling, and referral activities.

"Practice of marriage and family therapy" means the appraisal and treatment of cognitive, affective, or behavioral mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage and family systems through the application of therapeutic and family systems theories and techniques, which shall include assessment, treatment, and referral activities.

"Practice of substance abuse treatment" means rendering or offering to render substance abuse treatment to individuals, groups, organizations, or the general public.

"Professional counselor" means a person trained in the application of principles, standards, and methods of the counseling profession, including counseling interventions designed to facilitate an individual's achievement of human development goals and remediating mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders and associated distresses that interfere with mental health and development.

"Qualified mental health professional" means a person who by education and experience is professionally qualified and registered by the Board to provide collaborative mental health services for adults or children. A qualified mental health professional shall provide such services as an employee or independent contractor of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Department of Corrections, or a provider licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services includes qualified mental health professionals-adult and qualified mental health professionals-child.

"Qualified mental health professional-adult" means a qualified mental health professional who provides collaborative mental health services for adults. A qualified mental health professional-adult shall provide such services as an employee or independent contractor of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or the Department of Corrections, or as a provider licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

"Qualified mental health professional-child" means a person who by education and experience is professionally qualified and registered by the Board to provide collaborative mental health services for children and adolescents up to 22 years of age. A qualified mental health professional-child shall provide such services as an employee or independent contractor of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or the Department of Corrections, or as a provider licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

"Qualified mental health professional-trainee" means a person who is receiving supervised training to qualify as a qualified mental health professional and is registered with the Board.

"Referral activities" means the evaluation of data to identify problems and to determine advisability of referral to other specialists.

"Registered peer recovery specialist" means a person who by education and experience is professionally qualified and registered by the Board to provide collaborative services to assist individuals in achieving sustained recovery from the effects of addiction or mental illness, or both. A registered peer recovery specialist shall provide such services as an employee or independent contractor of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, a provider licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, a practitioner licensed by or holding a permit issued from the Department of Health Professions, or a facility licensed by the Department of Health.

"Residency" means a post-internship supervised clinical experience registered with the Board.

"Resident" means an individual who has submitted a supervisory contract to the Board and has received Board approval to provide clinical services in professional counseling under supervision.

"Substance abuse" and "substance dependence" mean a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.

"Substance abuse treatment" means (i) the application of specific knowledge, skills, substance abuse treatment theory, and substance abuse treatment techniques to define goals and develop a treatment plan of action regarding substance abuse or dependence prevention, education, or treatment in the substance abuse or dependence recovery process and (ii) referrals to medical, social services, psychological, psychiatric, or legal resources when such referrals are indicated.

"Supervision" means the ongoing process, performed by a supervisor, of monitoring the performance of the person supervised and providing regular, documented individual or group consultation, guidance, and instruction with respect to the clinical skills and competencies of the person supervised.

§54.1-3505. Specific powers and duties of the Board.

In addition to the powers granted in §54.1-2400, the Board shall have the following specific powers and duties:

1. To cooperate with and maintain a close liaison with other professional boards and the community to ensure that regulatory systems stay abreast of community and professional needs.

2. To conduct inspections to ensure that licensees conduct their practices in a competent manner and in conformance with the relevant regulations.

3. To designate specialties within the profession.

4. To administer the certification of rehabilitation providers pursuant to Article 2 (§54.1-3510 et seq.) of this chapter, including prescribing fees for application processing, examinations, certification and certification renewal.

5. [Expired.]

6. To promulgate regulations for the qualifications, education, and experience for licensure of marriage and family therapists. The requirements for clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and the professional examination service's national marriage and family therapy examination may be considered by the Board in the promulgation of these regulations. The educational credit hour, clinical experience hour, and clinical supervision hour requirements for marriage and family therapists shall not be less than the educational credit hour, clinical experience hour, and clinical supervision hour requirements for professional counselors.

7. To promulgate, subject to the requirements of Article 1.1 (§54.1-3507 et seq.) of this chapter, regulations for the qualifications, education, and experience for licensure of licensed substance abuse treatment practitioners and certification of certified substance abuse counselors and certified substance abuse counseling assistants. The requirements for membership in NAADAC: the Association for Addiction Professionals and its national examination may be considered by the Board in the promulgation of these regulations. The Board also may provide for the consideration and use of the accreditation and examination services offered by the Substance Abuse Certification Alliance of Virginia. The educational credit hour, clinical experience hour, and clinical supervision hour requirements for licensed substance abuse treatment practitioners shall not be less than the educational credit hour, clinical experience hour, and clinical supervision hour requirements for licensed professional counselors. Such regulations also shall establish standards and protocols for the clinical supervision of certified substance abuse counselors and the supervision or direction of certified substance abuse counseling assistants, and reasonable access to the persons providing that supervision or direction in settings other than a licensed facility.

8. To maintain a registry of persons who meet the requirements for supervision of residents. The Board shall make the registry of approved supervisors available to persons seeking residence status.

9. To promulgate regulations for the registration of qualified mental health professionals, including qualifications, education, and experience necessary for such registration, and for the registration of persons receiving supervised training in order to qualify as a qualified mental health professional.

10. To promulgate regulations for the registration of peer recovery specialists who meet the qualifications, education, and experience requirements established by regulations of the Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services pursuant to §37.2-203.

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