Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Chapter 13 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out sections 76 to 79, inclusive, as appearing in the 1986 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following four sections:-
Section 76. There shall be a board of registration of psychologists which shall consist of nine members to be appointed by the governor. Members of the board shall be residents of the commonwealth and citizens of the United States. Seven members of the board shall be licensed psychologists under the provisions of sections one hundred and eighteen to one hundred and twenty-nine A, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and twelve and shall have been actively engaged in the practice or teaching of psychology or in psychological research for the five years next preceding their appointment. At least four members of said board shall be certified as health service providers by the board under the provisions of sections one hundred and eighteen to one hundred and twenty-seven, inclusive, of said chapter one hundred and twelve. Two members of said board shall be selected from and shall represent the general public.
Section 77. Upon the expiration of the term of a member, his successor shall be appointed for a term of five years. No member of the board who has served a full five year term shall be reappointed to succeed himself.
Section 78. The governor shall have the power to remove from office any member of the board for cause; but no board member may be so removed without being informed in writing at least thirty days in advance of the reasons for his removal and of his right to a public or private hearing with counsel.
Section 79. The board shall, at its first meeting, and at each annual meeting thereafter, organize by electing from among its members a chairman, a vice-chairman and a secretary. Such officers shall serve until their successors are elected and qualified.
The board shall hold at least two regular meetings each year; but additional meetings may be held upon call of the chairman or the secretary, or at the written request of any three members of the board. Five members of the board shall constitute a quorum.
The board shall examine and pass upon the qualifications of applicants for licenses to practice psychology in the commonwealth and shall issue licenses to qualified applicants, but no action shall be taken with respect to the granting of a license or its revocation or suspension without the concurrence of at least five members of the board. The board shall issue certifications as health service providers to qualified applicants. The board shall adopt a seal which shall be affixed to all licenses issued by the board.
The board, in consultation with the secretary of consumer affairs and business regulations, shall from time to time promulgate such rules and regulations and such amendments thereof and supplements thereto as it may deem necessary.
The members of the board shall serve without compensation but each member shall be reimbursed for actual expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of his duties as a member on behalf of the board. The board shall be empowered to hire such assistants as it may deem necessary to carry on its activities.
The board may also appoint psychologists, subject to the approval of the secretary of consumer affairs and business regulations, who meet the qualifications for appointment to the board, to assist it in administering the examination required by section one hundred and twenty of chapter one hundred and twelve. Said assistance shall be provided under the supervision of a board member.
SECTION 2. Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out sections 118 to 129, inclusive, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following thirteen sections:-
Section 118. As used in sections one hundred and eighteen to one hundred and twenty-nine A, inclusive, the following words, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, shall have the following meanings:
"Board", the board of registration of psychologists.
"Doctoral degree in psychology", a doctoral degree from a recognized educational institution from a program in psychology as defined by the rules and regulations of the board.
"Health service", the delivery of direct, preventive, assessment and therapeutic intervention services to individuals whose growth, adjustment, or functioning is actually impaired or may be at risk of impairment.
"Health service training program", supervised experience at a site where health services in psychology are normally provided which is part of an organized integrated training program as defined by the rules and regulations of the board.
"Psychologist", an individual who by training and experience meets the requirements for licensing by the board and is duly licensed to practice psychology in the commonwealth.
"Recognized educational institution", a degree-granting college or university which is accredited by a Regional Board or Association of Institutions of higher education approved by the Council on Post Secondary Education of the United States Department of Education, or which is chartered to grant doctoral degrees by the commonwealth. Such institutional accreditation shall exist at the time that the doctoral degree is granted or within two years thereafter.
"Supervised health service experience", training at a site where health services in psychology are normally provided, with which the applicant has a formal relationship, and where the applicant is supervised at least one hour for every sixteen hours of training, at least half of which is provided by a psychologist licensed by the board who is a member of the staff of the training site. At least twenty-five per cent of the applicant's time shall be in direct client contact.
"The practice of psychology", rendering or offering to render professional service for any fee, monetary or otherwise, to individuals, groups of individuals, organizations or members of the public which includes the observation, description, evaluation, interpretation, and modification of human behavior, by the application of psychological principles, methods and procedures, for the purpose of assessing or effecting changes in symptomatic, maladaptive or undesired behavior and issues pertaining to interpersonal relationships, work and life adjustment, personal effectiveness and mental health. The practice of psychology includes, but is not limited to, psychological testing, assessment and evaluation of intelligence, personality, abilities, attitudes, motivation, interests and aptitudes; counseling, psychotherapy, hypnosis, biofeedback training and behavior therapy; diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorder or disability, alcoholism and substance abuse, and the psychological aspects of physical illness or disability; psychoeducational evaluation, therapy, remediation and consultation. Psychological services may be rendered to individuals, families, groups, and the public. For purposes of this definition, the practice of psychology does not include the teaching of psychology, the conduct of psychological research, or the provision of psychological consultation to organizations, unless such teaching research or consultation involves the delivery or supervision of the types of direct services described above, to individuals or groups of individuals.
Section 119. Each person desiring to obtain a license as a psychologist shall make application to the board upon such form and in such manner as the board shall prescribe and shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the board that such person:
(a) is of good moral character;
(b) has received a doctoral degree in psychology from a recognized educational institution;
(c) has engaged for the equivalent of at least two years full time, at least one year of which was subsequent to his receiving the doctoral degree, in psychological employment, teaching, research or professional practice under the supervision of or in collaboration with a licensed psychologist, or one clearly eligible for licensure in the opinion of the board; and
(d) conducts his professional activities in accordance with accepted standards such as the Ethical Standards of Psychologists of the American Psychological Association.
Section 120. Upon satisfaction of requirements specified in section one hundred and nineteen, the applicant shall pass an examination administered by the board. Examinations shall be conducted at least once a year at a time and place to be designated by the board. Examinations shall be written, oral or both as the board deems advisable. An applicant shall be held to have passed an examination upon the affirmative vote of at least five members of the board. Any person who shall have failed an examination conducted by the board may not be admitted to a subsequent examination for a period of at least six months.
Any licensed psychologist who independently provides or offers to provide to the public, health services, shall be certified as a health service provider by the board. The board shall certify as a health service provider applicants who shall demonstrate that they have at least two years full time of supervised health service experience, of which at least one year is post doctoral and at least one year of which is in a health service training program.
Section 121. Notwithstanding the provisions of section one hundred and twenty, the board may issue a license without examination to an applicant who presents evidence that he has been licensed or certified as a psychologist by a similar board of another jurisdiction whose standards, in the opinion of the board, are not lower than those required in the commonwealth; or that he holds a diploma from a nationally recognized board or agency approved by the board.
Section 122. Any person not licensed to practice psychology who holds himself out to be a psychologist or who uses the title "psychologist" or engages in the practice of psychology in a manner that implies or would reasonably be deemed to imply that he is so licensed shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment of not more than three months, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Section 123. The penalties in section one hundred and twenty-two shall not apply to:
(a) the salaried employment of individuals in recognized educational institutions, federal, state, county or local government institutions, nonprofit community agencies or research facilities while performing those duties for which they are employed by such institutions, agencies or facilities;
(b) the salaried employment of individuals certified as school psychologists by the department of education when functioning within the scope of their employment by a private or public school system;
(c) the salaried employment of individuals in corporations, partnerships, associations, or for persons, providing psychological services for remuneration while performing those duties for which they are employed by such organizations or persons, under the supervision of a licensed psychologist;
(d) persons eligible for licensure under section one hundred and nineteen who are full time employees of a recognized educational institution or a nonprofit research facility who are solicited for consultation of a research nature;
(e) persons eligible for licensure under section one hundred and nineteen who provide consultative services for a fee no more than one day a month; or
(f) students of psychology, psychological interns or persons preparing for the practice of psychology under qualified supervision in a recognized training institution or facility; provided, however, that they are designated by such titles as "psychological intern", "psychological trainee" or others clearly indicating such training status.
Section 124. The board may grant a temporary license for a period not to exceed one year to a psychologist with legal residence outside the commonwealth to practice within the commonwealth provided he registers with the board and practices in consultation with, or under the supervision of, a licensed psychologist or possesses qualifications acceptable to the board.
Section 125. Nothing in sections one hundred and eighteen to one hundred and twenty-nine A, inclusive, shall be construed to prevent qualified members of other professions or occupations such as physicians, teachers, members of the clergy, authorized Christian Science practitioners, attorneys-at-law, social workers, guidance counselors, clinical counselors, adjustment counselors, speech pathologists, audiologists or rehabilitation counselors from doing work of a psychological nature consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions, provided, however, that they do not hold themselves out to the public by any title or description stating or implying that they are psychologists or are licensed to practice psychology.
Nothing in sections one hundred and eighteen to one hundred and twenty-nine A, inclusive, shall be construed to prevent school psychologists certified by the department of education from practicing and functioning within the scope of their employment in public or private schools or performing as certified school psychologists at any time in private practice or the public sector; provided, however, that they use the title Certified School Psychologists.
Section 126. The following fees shall be determined annually by the commissioner of administration under the provision of section three B of chapter seven and shall be collected by the board: (a) application fee; (b) initial license fee; (c) temporary license fee; and (d) biennial renewal fee.
Section 127. Licenses shall be valid for two years and shall be renewed biennially. On or before April fifteenth every two years the secretary of the board shall forward to each licensed psychologist an application form for renewal. Upon the receipt of the completed form and the renewal fee on or before June first, the secretary shall renew the license for two years commencing July first. Any application for renewal of a license which has expired shall require the payment of a new application fee. Pursuant to the renewal, the applicant shall present to the board documented evidence of the completion of twenty hours of continuing education programs designed to improve the professional competence of the licensee. Such programs shall be completed during the licensed period immediately prior to renewal. In order to qualify, a program shall be approved by the American Psychological Association or such other accreditation program that the board may designate as appropriate.
Section 128. The board shall investigate all complaints relating to the proper practice of psychology by any person licensed under sections one hundred and eighteen to one hundred and twenty-nine A, inclusive.
The board may, after a hearing in accordance with the provisions of chapter thirty A, revoke, suspend or cancel the license, or reprimand, censure or otherwise discipline a psychologist licensed under said sections one hundred and eighteen to one hundred and twenty-nine A, inclusive, upon proof satisfactory to a majority of the board that said psychologist:
(a) fraudulently procured said license;
(b) is guilty of an offense against any provision of the laws of the commonwealth relating to the practice of psychology or any rule or regulation adopted thereunder;
(c) is guilty of conduct that places into question the psychologist's competence to practice psychology, including but not limited to gross misconduct in the practice of psychology or of practicing psychology fraudulently, or beyond its authorized scope, or with gross incompetence, or with gross negligence on a particular occasion or negligence on repeated occasions;
(d) is guilty of practicing psychology while the ability to practice was impaired by alcohol, drugs, physical disability or mental instability;
(e) is guilty of being habitually drunk or being or having been within a reasonable period of time addicted to, dependent on, or a habitual user of narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, hallucinogens, or other drugs having similar effects;
(f) is guilty of knowingly permitting, aiding or abetting an unlicensed individual to perform activities requiring a license for purposes of fraud, deception or personal gain, excluding activities permissible under any provision of laws of the commonwealth or rules or regulations of the board;
(g) has been convicted of a criminal offense which reasonably calls into question his ability to practice psychology; or
(h) is guilty of violating any rule or regulation of the board governing the practice of psychology.
The board shall, after proper notice and hearing, adopt rules and regulations governing the practice of psychology in order to promote the public health, welfare, and safety and to implement the provisions of this section.
No person filing a complaint or reporting or providing information pursuant to this section or assisting the board at its request in any manner in discharging its duties and functions shall be liable in any cause of action arising out of the receiving of such information and assistance; provided, however, that the person making the complaint or reporting or providing said information or assistance does so in good faith and without malice.
If the psychologist is found not to have violated any of the provisions set forth in this section, the board shall forthwith order a dismissal of the charges.
Notice in writing of a contemplated revocation or suspension of a license, or the cause therefor in sufficient particularity, and of the date of hearing thereon, shall be sent by registered or certified mail to the licensee at his last known address at least fifteen days before the date of such hearing. The psychologist against whom a charge is filed shall have a right to appear before the board in person or by counsel, or both, may produce witnesses and evidence on his behalf, and may question witnesses. No license shall be revoked or suspended without such hearing, but the nonappearance of the licensee, after notice, shall not prevent such hearing. All matters upon which the decision is based shall be introduced in evidence at the proceeding. The licensee shall be notified in writing of the board's decision. The board may make such rules and regulations as it deems proper for the filing of charges and the conduct of hearings.
After issuing an order or revocation or suspension the board may also file a petition in equity in the superior court in a county in which the respondent resides or transacts business, or in Suffolk county, to ensure appropriate injunctive relief to expedite and secure the enforcement of its order, pending the final determination.
Any decision the board makes pursuant to this section shall be subject to review in superior court in accordance with the provisions of chapter thirty A.
Section 129. After three years from the date of revocation, an application for reinstatement may be made to the board, which may, upon the affirmative vote of at least five of its members, grant such reinstatement.
Section 129A. All communications between a licensed psychologist and the individuals with whom the psychologist engages in the practice of psychology are confidential. At the initiation of the professional relationship the psychologist shall inform the client of the following limitations to the confidentiality of their communications. No psychologist, colleague, agent or employee of any psychologist, whether professional, clerical, academic or therapeutic, shall disclose any information acquired or revealed in the course of or in connection with the performance of the psychologist's professional services, including the fact, circumstances, findings or records of such services, except under the following circumstances:
(a) pursuant to the provisions of section twenty B of chapter two hundred and thirty-three or any other law,
(b) upon express, written consent of the client or patient,
(c) upon the need to disclose information which protects the rights and safety of others if: (1) the client presents a clear and present danger to himself and refuses explicitly or by his behavior to voluntarily accept further appropriate treatment. In such circumstances, where the psychologist has a reasonable basis to believe that a patient can be committed to a hospital pursuant to chapter one hundred and twenty-three, he shall have a duty to seek said commitment. The psychologist may also contact members of the client's family or other individuals if in the psychologist's opinion, it would assist in protecting the safety of the client; or (2) the client has communicated to the psychologist an actual threat of physical violence against a clearly identified or reasonably identifiable victim or victims. In such circumstances, the psychologist shall have a duty to warn or take reasonable precautions to provide protection from violent behavior. This duty shall be discharged by the psychologist if he takes one or more of the following actions: (i) makes reasonable efforts to communicate the threat to the victim or victims; (ii) seeks civil commitment of the patient pursuant to section twelve of said chapter one hundred and twenty-three; (iii) makes reasonable efforts to notify an appropriate police department or other law enforcement agency; or (3) where the client has a history of physical violence which is known to the psychologist and where the psychologist has a reasonable basis to believe that there is a clear and present danger of physical violence against a clearly identified or reasonably identified victim or victims. In such circumstances the psychologist shall have a duty to warn or take reasonable precautions to provide protection from violent behavior. This duty shall be discharged by the psychologist if he takes one or more of the following actions: (i) makes reasonable efforts to communicate the threat to the victim or victims; (ii) seeks civil commitment of the patient pursuant to said section twelve of said chapter one hundred and twenty-three; (iii) makes reasonable efforts to notify an appropriate police department or other law enforcement agency. (4) nothing contained herein shall require a psychologist to take any action which, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgement, would endanger himself or increase the danger to a potential victim or victims. (5) the psychologist shall only disclose that information which is essential in order to protect the rights and safety of others.
(d) in order to collect amounts owed by the client or patient for professional services rendered by the psychologist or his employees; provided, however, that the psychologist may only disclose the nature of services provided, the dates of services, the amount due for services and other relevant financial information; provided, further, that if the client raises as a defense to said action substantive assertions concerning the competence of the psychologist or the quality of the services provided, the psychologist may disclose whatever information is necessary to rebut such assertions; or
(e) in such other situations as shall be defined in the rules and regulations of the board.
No provision of this section shall be construed to prevent a nonprofit hospital service or medical service corporation from inspecting and copying, in the ordinary course of determining eligibility for or entitlement to benefits, any and all records relating to diagnosis, treatment, or other services provided to any person, including a minor or incompetent, for which coverage, benefit or reimbursement is claimed, so long as the policy or certificate under which the claim is made provides that such access to such records is permitted. No provision of this section shall be construed to prevent access to any such records in connection with any coordination of benefits, subrogation, workers' compensation, peer review, utilization review or benefit management procedures applied and implemented in good faith.
SECTION 3. This act shall not be construed to revoke or alter licenses granted by the board prior to the effective date of this act.
SECTION 4. Of the additional four members to be added to the board of registration pursuant to the provisions of this act, one professional member shall be appointed for a term of five years and one professional member shall be appointed for a term of three years; one of the members of the general public shall be appointed for a term of four years and one of the members of the general public shall be appointed for a term of two years.
SECTION 5. Notwithstanding the provisions of section one hundred and twenty of chapter one hundred and twelve of the General Laws, if application is made before January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, to the board of registration of psychologists, by an applicant who was licensed as a psychologist on January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and who can demonstrate that he has been engaged for the equivalent of at least two years full time in the provision of health services shall be certified by said board as a health service provider. Said applicant shall demonstrate that he has been engaged for the equivalent of at least two years full time in the provision of health services if he meets any one of the following conditions:
(a) the psychologist has a diplomate from the American Board of Professional Psychology in Clinical Psychology or Counseling Psychology;
(b) the psychologist is listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology;
(c) the psychologist has the equivalent of two years of full time experience, one of which was post doctoral, at a site where health care services are provided;
(d) the psychologist submits the affidavits of two psychologists licensed in the commonwealth which attest that the applicant has been engaged for the equivalent of at least two years full time in the provision of health services; or
(e) any other conditions that the board of registration of psychologists may deem acceptable.
SECTION 6. Notwithstanding the provisions of section one hundred and nineteen and section one hundred and twenty-one of chapter one hundred and twelve of the General Laws, if application is made before July first, nineteen hundred and ninety-four to the board of registration of psychologists by an applicant who has completed two full academic years of a graduate program on July first, nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, which he subsequently completes, leading to a doctoral degree in a closely related field with a major emphasis in psychology, as defined by the rules and regulations of the board, said applicant shall not be required to meet the requirements of subsection (b) of said section one hundred and nineteen of said chapter one hundred and twelve.