Mental Health Practice Act Updated May 2011

SB11-187 focused on the sunset review of The Mental Health Practice Act. The following is a summary of the additions and deletions from our current licensure act.

  •   Extend the regulatory boards of all those providers covered under the statute until September 1, 2020. Those providers include psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, addictions counselors and registered psychotherapists.
    • A new Board has been created to regulate addictions counselors, who were previously regulated by the Director of DORA rather than a board
  • A name change for those previously known as unlicensed psychotherapists to registered psychotherapists.
    • A name change for the Grievance Board that oversaw unlicensed psychotherapists to State Board of Registered Psychotherapists
  • The composition of all Boards will now be comprised of four (4) professional members and three (3) public members, the reverse of what we have had to date.
  • The psychologist and social work Boards can determine the format (for example, web based) for the jurisprudence examination to increase efficiency in the administration of the examination.
  • Clarifies that psychotherapy is only one of many practice areas for mental health providers (except for registered psychotherapists).
  • Clarifies the training and work experience required to obtain a license as a clinical social worker (allows that experience to be in areas other than psychotherapy).
  • Changes to some of the prohibited activities:
    • Allows a Board to discipline a provider if the provider is given a deferred sentence to any felony charge (as opposed to discipline only if the felony relates to the ability to practice).
    • Eliminates the term “intemperate” in disciplining a provider for use or abuse of alcohol or drugs.
    •  Eliminates the ability of the Board to discipline simply for having a mental or physical disorder that impairs one’s ability to practice. Rather, it disciplines a practitioner for failure to notify the Board of the inability to practice or for failure to follow through with the conditions of a confidential agreement with the Board related to that impairment.
    • Generally accepted standards of practice of each provider group will be taken into account when considering disciplinary action as to whether one has acted within the generally accepted standards of that practice.
    • “Willful” repeated ordering of unnecessary laboratory tests or studies is now eliminated.
    • Failure to respond to a complaint is basis for disciplinary action.
  • Rules are to be adopted by the Boards establishing a schedule of fines for violations of administrative requirements such as late renewal of one’s license. The cap for such violation is $5,000.
  • Establishes a peer assistance program to be implemented in 2013, allowing for the establishment of a study group comprised of members of each provider group included in the Statute to work with DoRA in determining the design of such program.
  • Requires that all providers covered by the Statute provide a verbal and written disclosure statement explaining the levels of regulation applicable to the particular discipline, the educational and training requirements necessary applicable to acquire a license.
  • Registered psychotherapists must include a statement indicating that he or she is not licensed and is not required to satisfy any standardized educational or testing requirements in order to be a registered psychotherapist.
  • Providers covered by the Statute acting as CFI’s are no longer exempt from Board jurisdiction.
  • Providers covered by the Statute acting as coaches are no longer exempt from Board jurisdiction unless they are not engaged in mental health practice (ex: coaching a sports team is exempt).
  • Adds “counseling” to the list of social work activities.
  • Recodifies law specifying qualifications for licensure and the particular activities in which an addiction counselor II or III may engage.
  • The fee for licensure for a the next two renewal cycles (the fees already include the increase to cover continuing competency). These increases are based on the fiscal note attached to the bill; there may be some adjustment. We will publicize the fee increase schedule as soon as we are officially notified by DORA.
    • $215 for an initial license in 2011; decrease to $196 starting in 2013 for an initial license
    • $135 for license renewal in 2011 and 2013
    • If the peer assistance program is enacted in 2013, the fee will increase by $25

Mental Health Sunset Activity

May 2011 - SB 187 passed both the Senate and the House and awaits governor's signature

March 2011 - Senate Bill 187 presented to the Health & Human Services Committee

October 2010 - The DORA 2010 Sunset Report is posted.

Spring 2010 - Sunset proposals made by the Sunset Coalition of mental health professions.  These changes have been proposed to DORA staff reviewers for their DORA Sunset Report. 

For more information about the process and to learn what you can do to help click here.

To get involved, and receive minutes from the meetings e-mail

To view participants involved in the Sunset Coalition click here.

To view participants involved in the Internal Social Work Sunset Group click here.