Legislature(1995 - 1996)

01/17/1996 09:03 AM Senate HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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            
 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                    
 Number 244                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER moved that CS SB 165(HES) be moved out of committee            
 with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objections, it was so            

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