Act 696 by Representative Pierre, allows a behavioral health provider to provide behavioral health services to a student at school during school hours if requested by the student’s parent or legal guardian.
The Act defines “Behavioral health provider” as a provider who is licensed by the Louisiana Department of Health or a health profession licensing board including but not limited to a psychiatrist, psychologist, medical psychologist, licensed specialist in school psychology, marriage and family therapist, professional counselor, clinical social worker, or a behavioral health provider organization licensed to provide behavioral health services in Louisiana.
According to the digest of the bill, services include individual psychotherapy, family psychotherapy, psychotropic medication management, community psychiatric support and treatment, and crisis intervention. Also, “Evaluator” shall mean a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, medical psychologist, licensed specialist in school psychology, professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker who is certified by the respective board of examiners in Louisiana to provide necessary evaluations and who is not an employee of the public school governing authority or the state Department of Education.
Behavioral health services shall be permitted during school hours if the student’s parent or legal guardian presents a behavioral health evaluation performed by an evaluator chosen by the parent or legal guardian and the evaluation indicates that the services are necessary during school hours to assist the student with behavioral health impairments that the evaluator determines are interfering with the student’s ability to thrive in the educational setting.
The Act says that a behavioral health evaluation presented by the parent or legal guardian of a student shall not be construed as an independent educational evaluation for purposes of determining if a student meets the criteria established for eligibility for special education and related services.
The cost of all behavioral health services provided to a student shall be the sole responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.
The parent or legal guardian of a student receiving services from a behavioral service provider shall be required to execute a “consent to release information form” between the provider and the public school governing authority. And a public school governing authority shall not enter into a contract or an exclusive agreement with a behavioral health provider that prohibits the parent or legal guardian from choosing the behavioral health provider for the student.