Legislature(1995 - 1996)
01/17/1996 09:03 AM Senate HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SHES - 1/17/96 SB 165 PSYCHOLOGISTS & PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATES Number 448 CHAIRMAN GREEN introduced SB 165 as the next order of business before the committee. SENATOR MILLER moved that the committee adopt the Lauterbach F version of SB 165 as the HESS Committee Substitute(CS). MIKE TIBBLES, Staff to Senator Green, reviewed the changes that the CS made. Changes Made By the CS (1) Page 1, line 6 after "evidence" the language "sufficient to conclude" was added in order to tighten the language. (2) Page 2, line 22 changed "doctoral degree" to "master's degree" due to a drafting error. (3) Page 4, line 30 - page 5, line 4 tightened the language regarding the definition of "sexual misconduct". CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that the change in definition of "sexual misconduct" was at the request of the Association of Psychologists. Without objection the CS was adopted as a working draft. MIKE TIBLLES read the sponsor statement which indicated that the provisions surrounding the licensure of psychological associates are too inhibiting. SB 165 would bring the psychological associates into conformity with other masters-level programs. Number 406 JENNIFER JONES, Co-Chair of the Licensing Equity Committee of the Alaska Psychological Association, identified the primary reason for this legislation as being the small number of licensed professionals in Alaska at the masters-level. She reiterated that the process of licensure is burdensome and prohibitive. The committee wants to encourage masters degree clinicians to obtain a license. The rural population would be greatly affected because in rural areas there are no Ph. Ds to do weekly supervision. This legislation would establish greated equity amongst mental health professionals who deal with the same populations as psychologists. Ms. Jones indicated that there seems to be more of a need to create standards for providing health care. Third-party payers are more interested in reimbursing licensed professionals. Therefore masters level psychology individuals without licenses are less likely to be reimbursed for services. Individuals in such situations are not able to practice in the state. SB 165 is a step towards meeting the changes in the entire health care field. Ms. Jones suggested the option of temporary licenses for masters-level people with oversight during the time they are practicing before receiving their full license. Ms. Jones noted that the previous sexual conduct language was ambiguous which lead to the tighter language in the CS. The language in the CS would strengthen the boards ability to initiate investigations of complaints. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if this legislation had wide support from Ms. Jones constituents. JENNIFER JONES replied yes. The Alaska Psychological Association does support this legislation. KATHRYN CARSSOW, 20 year Alaskan resident, explained how she came to pursue a masters degree in Clinical Psychology or social work and family therapy. She supported SB 165 and noted that she had helped in its drafting. Masters degree professionals should be able to practice on their own in rural areas in a reasonable time frame, which should conform to the time frame requirements of marital and family therapists. This draft legislation would allow more mental health professionals to practice across the state. Number 322 CHRISTIE BROWN informed the committee that she had practiced at an undergraduate level for 10 years and is currently pursuing her masters degree. This bill would bring about fair and equitable changes for psychological associates. SB 165 would allow masters level people to practice in areas where there are no professionals available. KATHY PONTIUS, graduate student in Clinical Psychology, noted the difference in the supervisory requirements for licensure of those in social work, marital and family therapists as opposed to those in psychology. She informed the committee that there is not a masters degree program in marital and family therapy in Alaska. The masters degree program for social work began this fall at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, although the program is not accredited. Ms. Pontius pointed out that the unfairness of the current statute have forced many possible clinical psychologist majors to move out of state to obtain their degree. Therefore, Alaska loses possible therapists. In conclusion, Ms. Pontius supported SB 165. ROY WHITE, licensed Marital and Family Therapist, supported SB 165. He reiterated the concern of the movement of psychological professionals out of the state under the current licensure requirements. Number 244 SENATOR MILLER moved that CS SB 165(HES) be moved out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objections, it was so ordered.