FAQs - Information for Certain Entities in New York

Chapters 130 and 132 of the Laws of 2010 changed the Education Law in regard to settings that are authorized (1) to provide social work, psychology, and mental health practitioner services and (2) to employ individuals licensed or authorized to practice the professions of social work, psychology, mental health practitioner, medicine and nursing, effective June 1, 2010. In order to provide these professional services, certain not-for-profit, religious and education corporations must obtain a waiver or have some other legal authority to do so. The following material is intended to address the most frequent questions about changes in the Education Law and Commissioner’s Regulations. This is based on a summary of the Education Law and does not constitute legal advice. You should discuss any questions with your attorney.

Waiver from corporate practice restrictions

The Education Law restricts the practice of a profession to individuals who are licensed or otherwise authorized to provide professional services (e.g., permit holders and students under supervision) and to entities (e.g., professional businesses, hospitals, public schools) that are authorized to employ licensed professionals or qualified persons. Prior to the enactment of licensure laws which restricted the practice of social work, mental health practitioner and psychology professions to those licensed in those professions and to authorized entities, any individual or business could provide certain services within the scopes of practice of these professions, including psychotherapy. However, licensure laws now restrict many of these services to licensed individuals and require that the delivery of such professional services be provided only by authorized individuals or entities authorized to employ licensed professionals or otherwise qualified persons.

While most not-for-profit, religious and education corporations are prohibited from offering any professional services, Chapters 130 and 132 of the Laws of 2010 created a new section 6503-a of the Education Law to establish a process through which the Department may grant a waiver to authorize qualified not-for-profit, religious or education corporations to provide these professional services. The waived entities will be authorized to provide certain professional services, including psychotherapy, and to employ persons licensed or authorized to provide such professional services. Waived entities are subject to oversight and discipline by the Board of Regents.

How does the waiver affect the ability of a not-for-profit, religious or education corporation to provide services to the public?

The waiver will allow a not-for-profit or religious corporation formed for charitable, educational, or religious purposes or other similar purposes deemed acceptable by the Department, or an education corporation as defined in subdivision one of section 216-a of the Education Law, to provide the following services, provided that the entity was in existence prior to June 18, 2010, and has obtained a waiver issued by the Department:

  1. services provided under article 154 or 163 of the Education Law, for which licensure would be required, or
  2. services constituting the provision of psychotherapy as defined in subdivision two of section 8401 of the Education Law and authorized and provided under article 131, 139, or 153 of the Education Law.

On or after July 1, 2012, a waiver may be granted regardless of when the entity was created only if the Department determines there is need for an entity's services. Use this template for the submission of information that demonstrates a need for services. You can access the Education Law on this site.

Can an entity provide services while the application is under review?

The law allows an entity that existed on June 18, 2010, to continue providing services until the Department makes a decision on the waiver application. The Board of Regents has adopted regulations that define the process by which an entity may apply for and receive a waiver (section 59.14 of the Commissioner’s Regulations) and define unprofessional conduct by an entity issued a waiver (section 29.18 of the Regents Rules) to ensure public protection. You can access the regulations on this site.

An entity that wishes to employ individuals who are licensed or authorized to provide professional services must submit the waiver application and all supporting information, as outlined below. This includes attestations of moral character from each officer, trustee or director of the entity and, if the entity provides services in more than one site, an application for an additional setting(s).

Education Law section 6503-a requires entities to submit an application on or before February 1, 2012. The Department will complete an initial review and notify the applicant whether additional information is required to complete the evaluation of the application. The law requires the Department to approve or deny the application within 90 days after determining that the application is complete. If the application is approved, the Department will issue a waiver to the entity; if the application is denied, the entity must stop providing professional services.

Are there entities that do not require a waiver under the law?

The law clarifies that certain entities are authorized to employ licensed professionals to provide services that would otherwise be restricted under Title VIII of the Education Law. These include:

  1. any entity operated under an operating certificate appropriately issued in accordance with article 16, 31, or 32 of the mental hygiene law, article 28 of the public health law, or comparable procedures by a New York state or federal agency, political subdivision, municipal corporation, or local government agency or unit, in accordance with the scope of the authority of such operating certificate. This would include public hospitals, psychiatric centers, substance abuse programs, or similar entities;
  2. a university faculty practice corporation duly incorporated pursuant to the not-for-profit corporation law;
  3. an institution of higher education authorized to provide a program leading to licensure in a profession defined under article 131 (medicine), 139 (nursing), 153 (psychology), 154 (social work) or 163 (mental health practitioners) of this title, to the extent that the scope of such services is limited to the services authorized to be provided within such registered program;
  4. an institution of higher education providing counseling only to the students, staff, or family members of students and staff of such institution;
  5. any other entity as may be defined in the regulations of the commissioner, provided that such entity is otherwise authorized to provide such services pursuant to law and only to the extent such services are authorized under any certificates of incorporation or such other organizing documents as may be applicable; or
  6. any appropriately organized professional entity, including, but not limited to, those established under the business corporation law, the limited liability company law or the partnership law; or
  7. any entity operated by a New York state or federal agency, political subdivision, municipal corporation, or local government agency or unit pursuant to authority granted by law, including but not limited to any entity operated by the office of mental health, the office for people with developmental disabilities, or the office of alcoholism and substance abuse services under articles seven, thirteen, and nineteen of the mental hygiene law, respectively.

What should I do if I'm not sure if my not-for-profit, religious or education corporation needs a waiver?

Contact the State Board for Social Work Board Office by phone at 518-474-3817 ext. 450 or by e-mail at swmhpentity@mail.nysed.gov.

Is there a fee for the waiver?

No, there is no fee for the waiver.

How do the waivers affect individual applicants for licensure?

Experience for licensure must be completed in a legally authorized setting. If you are seeking employment with a prospective employer, you should verify that the employer has the authority to provide services in a the licensed profession. This could include:

  • an employer that does not require a waiver, as discussed in this section; or
  • an entity that holds a corporate practice waiver issued by the Department under 6503-a; or
  • a program that is regulated, operated, funded or approved by certain state or local government agencies and, therefore, exempt from the licensing laws until July 1, 2016;
  • If the setting is not authorized, any experience that you complete may not be acceptable, so it is in your best interest to verify the setting’s authority before you accept employment.

How can the public verify if an entity has a waiver of corporate practice restrictions?

The Department will issue to a qualified not-for-profit, religious or education corporation a three-year waiver under Education Law section 6503-a. The entity must display a waiver certificate in each setting where professional services are provided to the public. The public will be able to use the Office of the Professions website to determine whether an entity has been issued a waiver and when that waiver expires. An entity that has been issued a waiver will receive a renewal notice from the Office of the Professions every 3 years and must register to continue offering professional services.

How does the waiver affect the ability of a not-for-profit, religious or education corporation to provide services?

The waiver will allow a not-for-profit, religious or education corporation to employ licensed professionals or contract with licensed professionals or professional entities, to provide services that are restricted under Title VIII. The licensed professionals and professional entities are responsible for services provided. The corporation holding the waiver is subject to the definitions of professional misconduct under the same provisions of Education Law and Regents Rules and has the same rights as a licensed professional.

What is an acceptable not-for-profit, religious or education corporation?

In order to qualify for a waiver, the entity must be organized in accordance with New York laws. A not-for-profit corporation may be organized under the Not-for-Profit Law. A religious corporation may be organized  under the Religious Corporations Law. An education corporation may be authorized by the Board of Regents with an absolute or provisional charter. The entity must submit a copy of this authorization with the application for a waiver, and the corporate purposes of the entity must include the provision of professional services, as defined in Articles 153 (psychology), 154 (social work) or 163 (mental health practitioners) of the Education Law.

Was the law amended to allow an application to be submitted after June 16, 2011?

Yes, the Governor signed Chapter 187 of the Laws of 2011 on July 21, 2011. This amendment requires that an entity submit an application on or before February 1, 2012. The law continues to authorize an entity to provide professional services while the application is under review.

How will I know if my application was received by the deadline?

If you sent your application by certified mail, FedEx, or other carriers and requested proof of delivery, your receipt from the carrier will be proof of a timely application. The State Board for Social Work office is processing the applications and will send an e-mail acknowledgement. Please avoid calling the Board office so that we can continue to process the applications. You can access a list of entities that have applied for a waiver and those that have received a waiver on our website.

What if an application is submitted after July 1, 2012?

The law allows the Department to issue a waiver on or after July 1, 2012 to an entity which was created before, on, or after June 18, 2010, only if there is a demonstration of need for the entity’s services, satisfactory to the Department. Section 59.14(c) of the Commissioner’s Regulations defines a need for services to include, but not be limited to the fact the entity provides services to an underserved population or in a shortage area. Applications submitted on or before February 1, 2012 and reviewed by the department prior to July 1, 2012 will be evaluated without consideration of the need for services. A sample document that sets out the format for submitting information about the need for an entity's services is available on this site.

Does each director and officer of the entity have to provide a home address, telephone number and e-mail information?

When we are processing applications, including the moral character attestation, we may need to request clarification or additional information. Please provide the best way to contact you, whether this is your home or work address, telephone number and e-mail address, or if we should contact you through the entity’s contact person.

How does an entity notify the Office of the Professions about changes required by the law and regulations?

Section 59.14(i) states that an entity holding a waiver must notify the Department within 60 days of any change in the information supplied to the Department. If there is a change in the name of the entity, the primary address, or in designated personnel (director, officer or trustee of the entity, including the CEO, COO, CFO or Executive Director who is authorized to act on behalf of the entity) these changes must be submitted on the Waiver Entity Form COI. Please note that each new director, officer, trustee, Executive Director, CEO, COO or CFO must also submit a Moral Character Attestation (Form CE-1).

If there is a change in the professional services to be offered by the entity, this should be reported on a revised Application for Waiver (Form CE). If the entity adds or deletes sites at which services are provided, a Request for Additional Setting Form (Form CE-2) must be submitted for each site.

Does the entity have to notify the Office of the Professions prior to any change?

No, the entity should submit the required documentation after any changes have been made to key personnel, including officers, directors and trustees; the name or primary address of the entity; the professional services to be offered by the entity; or the addition or deletion of additional sites. However, the entity may need the approval of another state or local government agency to make certain changes. Timely notification to the Office of the Professions will allow us to contact the entity in the future.

Can an entity that submits a waiver application withdraw the application?

Section 6503-a of the Education Law establishes the requirements for a waiver from the corporate practice restrictions. Until July 1, 2016, there is an exemption from licensure for individuals in certain programs. If an entity is exempt, it may choose not to apply for a waiver or to withdraw an application that was submitted prior to the deadline. If the entity applies in the future for a waiver of the corporate practice restrictions it will have to meet all requirements in effect at that time.

Can an entity that has received a waiver cancel or return the waiver?

When a waiver is issued, it is valid for three years and must be renewed every three years to authorize the entity to employ licensed or authorized persons to provide professional services. If the entity stops providing the services authorized by the waiver, it may choose not to register for the next registration period. If the entity chooses to register the waiver in the future, it would have to request a registration application from the State Board for Social Work and meet all requirements in effect at that time.

Where can I access more information?

There is additional information about the application process and required information on the application forms, available on this site. You can also search under the “Find Answers” tab on this website to access more information about the waivers authorized under the Education Law.

Last Updated: February 14, 2014