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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1636         FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1002

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Ruth B. Balser

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to the licensure of behavior analysts.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

James J. Dwyer

30th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1636        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1002

By Ms. Balser of Newton, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1002) of Ruth B. Balser and others relative to the licensure of behavior analysts.  Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

_______________

 

An Act relative to the licensure of behavior analysts.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1.  Chapter 13 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting the following section:

              Section 79A.  There shall be within the board of registration of psychologists a committee on behavior analysts and applied behavior analysis. Members of the committee shall be appointed by the board with the following qualifications: one member shall be a licensed psychologist who is a member of the board, one member shall be a licensed psychologist who has been actively involved with the practice of applied behavior analysis for at least four years, one member shall be from the general public and shall not be engaged in or have a financial interest in the delivery of health services, and four members shall be behavior analyst practitioners.  Any of these individuals may also be licensed psychologists or individuals licensed to provide mental health services to the public from within other disciplines licensed by the commonwealth.

              The board of registration of psychologists shall appoint four of the initial members to terms of three years, and three of the initial members to terms of two years. Thereafter, all appointees shall serve for terms of three years. The board shall fill vacancies with persons who possess the qualification required of the original appointees. Those members appointed to the initial committee as behavior analysts need not be licensed as behavior analysts. Such members so appointed after the initial committee is appointed shall be licensed under these provisions as licensed behavior analysts, prior to such appointment.

              SECTION 2.  Chapter 112 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended in section 130 by inserting the following new definition:

              “Applied Behavior Analysis”, a set of techniques derived from basic and clinical research in the psychology of learning.  The techniques are employed therapeutically in an effort to control or reduce abnormal and maladaptive behaviors in specific populations, predominately children with severe developmental disabilities and autism, consistent with the psychological principles of operant conditioning and learning.  Applied behavior analysis with the developmentally delayed and autistic populations includes conducting functional analyses of behavior seeking causes for the behavior, developing behavioral treatment objectives and goals, developing individual behavior change plans, using operant conditioning techniques in an effort to teach new skills, directing or monitoring the implementation of these plans, developing and implementing data collection systems and reviewing the data to monitor treatment effectiveness.  The techniques represent a subset of psychological treatment methodologies, which along with other techniques within the field of psychology have proven helpful with these specific populations.  Applied behavior analysis as a technical set of skills does not replace or in any way obviate the need for broad clinical assessment, diagnosis and treatment of individuals with such disabilities.

              SECTION 3.  Chapter 112 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended in section 130 by inserting after the definition of “psychotherapy of a nonmedical nature” the following new definition:

              “Licensed Behavior Analyst”, an individual who is trained in applied behavior analysis and who by training and experience meets the requirements of section 129E and possesses licensure as defined in section 129H.   A licensed behavior analyst designs, implements, and evaluates environmental modifications in an effort to produce socially significant improvements in human behavior through skill acquisition and the reduction of problematic behavior in developmentally delayed or autistic individuals.  Treatment plans shall be based on empirical research, including the direct observation and measurement of behavior as well as a functional behavioral assessment; and utilize antecedent stimuli, positive reinforcement and other consequences to produce behavior change.

              SECTION 4.  Chapter 112 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting the following new sections:

              Section 129C. The committee on behavior analysts and applied behavior analysis may adopt reasonable rules to carry out sections 129D to 129K, inclusive, and may amend and revoke such rules at its discretion. The committee shall keep a record of its proceedings and a register of all persons licensed by it.  The register shall contain the name of every living licensee, his address, and the date and number of his license as a licensed behavior analyst. The committee shall develop criteria for the licensure of licensed behavior analysts, including both academic qualification and supervised experience.  Rules created by the committee shall be subject to approval by the board of registration of psychologists.

              The committee shall meet not less than four times per calendar year. At the first meeting of each year, the committee shall elect a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary.

              Section 129D. A person who desires to be licensed as a licensed behavior analyst shall apply to the committee the manner prescribed by the committee. The applicant shall include statements under oath satisfactory to the committee, showing that he possess the qualifications preliminary to examination required by section 129E.  He shall pay to the committee at the time of his filing such application a fee which shall be determined annually by the secretary of administration and finance under the provisions of section three B of chapter seven.

              Section 129E. To be eligible for licensure by the committee as a licensed behavior analyst, an applicant shall make application to the committee 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 at least eighteen years of age,

              (b) is of good moral character,

              (c) has a master’s degree or higher degree from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university,

              (d) has received his degree from within the department of psychology at the university, or other department designed specifically to train behavior analysts through the study of applied behavior analysis

              (e) has coursework in the pursuit of that degree that is acceptable to the committee on behavior analysts

              (f) has supervised experience in the practice of applied behavior analysis that is acceptable to the committee on behavior analysts

              (g) has passed an examination in applied behavior analysis the form and content of which is determined by the board of registration of psychologists. 

              (h) At its discretion, the board of registration of psychologists and the committee may allow an applicant to substitute successful completion of the requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board for the examination and supervised experience requirements.

              (i) has passed a state jurisprudence examination

              (j) conducts his professional activities in accordance with accepted standards including the Ethical Standards of Psychologists of the American Psychological Association and the Guidelines for Responsible Conduct of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

              Section 129F. Licensed behavior analysts are trained to work with children and adults with severe developmental disabilities and autism.  The scope of practice of the licensed behavior analyst includes conducting functional analyses of behavior seeking causes for the behavior, development of behavioral treatment objectives and goals, development of individual behavior change plans, using operant conditioning techniques utilizing reward and punishment in an effort to teach new skills, direct implementation of these plans and/or monitoring of the implementation of these plans, developing and implementing data collection systems and reviewing the data to monitor treatment effectiveness.

              Applied behavior analysis as practiced by a licensed behavior analyst is a technical set of skills and does not replace or in any way obviate the need for broad clinical assessment and treatment of individuals with such handicaps.  Provision of services by a licensed behavior analyst expressly excludes psychological testing, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, neuropsychology, sex therapy, psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy, both long and short-term counseling as treatment modalities and any mental health treatment modality not directly related to operant conditioning and applied behavior analysis.  The licensed behavior analyst works exclusively as a member of a clinical or educational treatment team, within a school system, a licensed clinic or a licensed day treatment or residential program working with children and adults with developmental disabilities and or autism.  Services may be provided within a home setting, providing they are under the auspices of a school system, licensed clinic or licensed day treatment or residential treatment program for developmentally delayed or autistic individuals.

              Unless the licensed behavior analyst is also licensed by the commonwealth in a mental health field whose scope of practice includes the diagnosis of mental disorders, the scope of practice of the licensed behavior analyst does not include the diagnosis of mental, emotional or behavioral disorders.  Prior to the implementation of a behavioral treatment plan for any individual, the licensed behavior analyst who is not also licensed in a field whose scope of practice includes the diagnosis of mental, emotional and behavior disorders, must assure that an appropriate medical and psychological evaluation of the individual has been conducted, by appropriately licensed individuals, and obtain a written referral from those professionals that treatment by a licensed behavior analyst with techniques of applied behavior analysis represents an appropriate primary or adjunctive treatment modality for that individual’s current presentation. Such a licensed behavior analyst is required to maintain a documented, ongoing consultative relationship as defined by regulation of the committee with the referring licensed provider relative to appropriateness of treatment, duration of treatment, progress and the need for further evaluation of the individual.

              Section 129G. The committee shall examine applicants for licensure as a licensed behavior analyst at least annually in such places as it may determine commencing in calendar year two thousand and twelve. The examination may be written and or oral and shall test the applicant’s competency in and knowledge of the theory and practice of behavioral psychology, applied behavior analysis, behavioral measurement, functional analysis, reinforcement theory, single subject design, and theory underlying behavioral treatment methodology. Additionally, applicants will be examined for knowledge of ethics and relevant Massachusetts law. The committee shall determine the type of examination.  Substitution of this requirement with certification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board may be permitted as described in section 129E.  Any applicant who fails to pass such examination may take a second examination upon the payment of an additional application fee that shall be determined annually by the commissioner of administration and finance under the provisions of section 3B of chapter 7, and must be so re-examined at the next scheduled examination.  Upon failure of an applicant to pass a second examination, the committee may require him to complete additional courses of study as designated by the committee, in which case he shall be required, before taking another examination, to present to the committee satisfactory evidence of having completed the required additional courses, and shall pay the re-examination fee as noted above. 

              Section 129H. The committee shall license as a licensed behavior analyst each applicant who proves to the satisfaction of the committee his fitness for licensure under the provisions of sections 129D to 129E, inclusive. It shall issue to each person so licensed, a license, which shall be prima face evidence of the right of such person to represent himself as a licensed behavior analyst and authorized to use the initials L.B.A.

              Section 129I. The director of professional licensure shall determine the renewal cycle and renewal period for all licenses issued by the committee.  Persons licensed in accordance with these sections shall apply to the committee for renewal of their licenses on or before the expiration date, as determined by the director, unless such license was earlier revoked, suspended or canceled as a result of a disciplinary proceeding instituted pursuant to this chapter.  Applications for renewal shall be made on forms approved by the committee and accompanied by payment of a renewal fee, as determined by the secretary of administration and finance pursuant to section 3B of chapter 7.  All licensing and application fees and civil administrative penalties collected pursuant to sections 129D and 129G, shall be deposited into the trust fund established in section 35V of chapter 10.

              Section 129J. The committee may, after a hearing pursuant to chapter thirty A, revoke, suspend, or cancel the license of a licensed behavior analyst, or reprimand or censure a licensed behavior analyst if it finds upon proof satisfactory to the committee that such licensed behavior analyst:

              (a) fraudulently procured licensure as a licensed behavior analyst;

              (b) violated any provision of law relating to practice as a licensed behavior analyst, or any rule or regulation adopted hereunder;

              (c) acted with gross misconduct in practicing as a licensed behavior analyst or of practicing fraudulently, or beyond its authorized scope, or with gross incompetence, or with gross negligence on a particular occasion or negligence on repeated occasions;

              (d) practiced as a licensed behavior analyst while the ability to practice was impaired by alcohol, drugs, physical disability or mental instability;

              (e) was habitually drunk or being or having been addicted to, dependent on, or a habitual user of narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, hallucinogens, or other drugs having similar effects;

              (f) knowingly permitted, aided or abetted an unlicensed person to perform activities requiring a license for purposes of fraud, deception or personal gain;

              (g) has been convicted of a criminal offense that reasonably calls into question the ability to practice as a licensed behavior analyst;

              (h) violated any rule or regulation of the board or the committee;

              (i) acted in a manner that is professionally unethical according to ethical standards of the American Psychological Association or the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

              No person filing a complaint or reporting information pursuant to this section or assisting the committee or board at its request in any manner in discharging its duties and functions shall be liable in any cause of action arising out of receiving such information or assistance, providing the person making the complaint or reporting or providing such information or assistance does so in good faith and without malice.

              Section 129K. Any person who practices applied behavior analysis in the commonwealth without a license or practices applied behavior analysis without license to provide mental health services, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than three months, or both.   Nothing in this statute shall prevent the practice of applied behavior analysis within school, residential or day treatment settings or state-operated facilities by individuals trained to provide such services, providing (1) they do not hold themselves out as licensed behavior analysts (2) they are licensed by the commonwealth as educators or providers of mental health services, such as psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers practicing within their scope of practice and training or (3) they are working under the direct clinical supervision of an individual who is licensed by the commonwealth as an educator or as a provider of mental health services, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker practicing within their scope of practice and training.

              The committee may petition in any court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction against any person practicing as a behavior analyst without a license. Such injunction may be issued without proof of damage sustained by any person. Such injunction shall not relieve such person from criminal prosecution for practicing without a license.

              Section 129L. A person who does not possess a valid license as a licensed behavior analyst pursuant to the provisions of this statute, shall not represent himself as a “behavior analyst” or “licensed behavior analyst.”

              SECTION 5.  Nothing in this act shall prevent other mental health practitioners licensed by the commonwealth from engaging in the practice of applied behavioral analysis or functioning as a behavior analyst, if it is already within their scope of practice under their existing license and they are practicing within the scope of their training and experience.

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