Extended Opportunity for Comment on Exempt Agency Reports

We have extended the deadline to comment to December 30, 2011. The Office of the Professions invites thoughtful and focused feedback on proposed implementation plans submitted by State Agencies currently exempt from certain professional licensure laws. In 2002, the Education Law was amended to define and restrict the practice of psychology, social work, and mental health practice, with exemptions for individuals in programs under certain state agencies. Those agencies were required to submit reports to the State Education Department (SED) detailing the utilization of such personnel and recommending measures that will enable each entity to comply with professional licensure laws when the exemptions expire.

The State Education Department (SED) has received these plans from the identified agencies and posted them at www.op.nysed.gov/surveys/mhpsw/exempt-agencies-overview.htm.

We are now seeking your opinion and ask you to take the time to read the recommendations and respond to the survey to help inform SED’s perspective. The law requires that the Commissioner of Education prepare a report to the Legislature and Executive by July 1, 2012 recommending any amendments to law, rule or regulation necessary to fully implement the requirements for licensure by July 1, 2013. In order to allow sufficient time to prepare the report, this survey will only be open until the new date of December 30, 2011.

Background on Licensure and Practice

It is important for respondents to this survey to understand the environment in which these plans were developed and the history of the licensing laws. Chapters 420 and 676 of the Laws of 2002 amended the Education Law to establish the requirements for licensure and to define practice as a psychologist, licensed master social worker, licensed clinical social worker, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, creative arts therapist or psychoanalyst. Prior to the enactment of these laws, any individual could provide services that are now restricted to licensed professionals.

The 2002 laws included an exemption from licensure until January 1, 2010 for individuals in programs that are regulated, operated, funded or approved under the Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), or local social service or mental hygiene district. This allowed unlicensed persons in those programs to provide services that would otherwise be restricted under law.

Chapters 130 and 132 of the Laws of 2010 extended until July 1, 2013 the exemption from licensure as a psychologist for individuals in programs under the originally identified exempt agencies. Those laws also extended and expanded the exemption from licensure to include individuals in programs under the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), and State Office for the Aging (SOFA) for social workers and mental health practitioners until July 1, 2013.

The 2010 law requires the exempt agencies to submit reports to the State Education Department (SED) identifying tasks and activities performed by their personnel which, if not for the exemption, would require professional licensure, an analysis of costs associated with employing only appropriately licensed or otherwise authorized personnel to perform such tasks, and costs associated with providing support to unlicensed personnel in obtaining appropriate licensure. The report must also include an action plan detailing measures through which each such entity shall, no later than July 1, 2013, comply with professional licensure laws applicable to services provided and make recommendations on alternative pathways toward licensure.

In order to collect information about the practice of these professions in the exempt agencies, the Office of the Professions and the exempt agencies collaborated to identify activities that, if not for the exemption, could only be provided by those appropriately licensed or otherwise authorized under law. These are:

  • diagnosis,
  • assessment/evaluation,
  • psychotherapy,
  • assessment-based treatment planning, and
  • services other than psychotherapy.

The exempt agencies surveyed their providers, and utilized that information in developing the plans and recommendations required under the law.

Completing the Survey

This survey presents the recommendations by exempt agencies for changes in the Education Law, rules or regulations regarding the license and practice of these professions. The Office of the Professions is asking that members of the public and other interested parties review and respond to these proposals. The survey will take between 15 and 30 minutes to complete and the information will be critical to the Department’s development of the report due by July 1, 2012.

This survey only includes the recommendations submitted by the exempt agencies. You are encouraged to read each report prior to entering the survey. This background will help you in understanding the recommendation(s) from each agency and providing comments on these recommendations. You may comment on one or all 19 of the recommendations from the exempt agencies. We have provided an opportunity for you to indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with a recommendation, to suggest changes to the recommendation, or to provide alternative recommendations.

You may want to save the reports on your task bar to refer to them as you do the survey. You could also open a second window on your computer to have a side-by-side view of the agency report and the survey. You may go back to previous pages in the survey and update existing responses until you complete or exit the survey. Once the survey is completed (or exited) you may not re-enter the survey to update your responses.

Thank you for taking the time to provide your thoughts on the recommendations and plans. The Office of the Professions and the exempt agencies value your perspective and your privacy, so we will only share a summary of comments that are submitted and will not identify individuals or their comments, recommendations and/or criticisms. If you have questions when completing the survey, please write to us at: SWMHPSurvey@mail.nysed.gov.

Click www.surveymonkey.com/s/ExemptionSurvey to enter the survey

Click www.op.nysed.gov/surveys/mhpsw/exempt-agencyrpts.htm to review the agency reports*

* Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to access the PDF files; you can download Acrobat for free at http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/.

Last Updated: April 9, 2014