Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association

Legislative Update June 2021

  • Monday, June 14, 2021 12:15 AM
    Message # 10631214
    Aaron Norton (Administrator)

    Hello, SMHCA members!

    State Legislation

    Because we are in between legislative sessions, there's not much to report on regarding state legislation.  As mentioned in last month's update, FMHCA intends to promote legislation again this year to remove the requirement for registered interns in private practice settings to have a licensed professional on the premises when providing telehealth as well as to revise a statute to clarify that 491 board licensees can be appointed as forensic mental health experts by the courts alongside psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians.  FMHCA also received a request to try and pass legislation dealing with the interns who have not yet passed the written exam and whose 5 year limit will expire on 3/31/22.  The issue is that many interns have struggled to pass the exam because (1) the NCMHCE exam has several flaws, and it's passing rate is only 45%; and (2) the pandemic has created massive delays in testing dates for interns, making it very hard to schedule the exam this past year.  The NCMHCE is being revised, and the improved version of the exam should be launched in January 2022.  FMHCA is considering liaison work with the 491 Board to see if the board will temporarily accept the NCE exam (with a passing rate of 65%) until April 2022 as a possible remedy.  However, this has not yet been decided, so keep your eyes peeled for additional updates.  

    491 Board Rules Update: Interns, Telehealth, and Webcam Supervision

    However, there is one important issue to clarify that deals with 491 board rules.  Several members have asked whether the temporary board rule permitting registered interns to (1) receive all supervision sessions through webcam vs. only 50% of them and (2) use telehealth hours towards their 1,500 face-to-face psychotherapy hour has been extended or whether it expires 6/30/21.  

    I asked Janet Hartman, the Executive Director of the 491 Board, who verified that the 491 Board voted to extend the capacity for supervision sessions to be conduced via webcam and for telehealth sessions to count towards an intern's 1,500 clinical hours until 6/30/26.  You can hear audio of that discussion from the 491 Board's rules meeting on 3/26/21 by clicking here and listening from 0:03:42 through 0:21:26.  Also, I have attached the email from Janet Hartman.

    Federal Legislation

    There is nothing new to report that was not in last month's update.   Click here to read it. 

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Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association
P.O. Box 2853 Pinellas Park, Florida 33780

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