House Bill 477, put forth by the state psychology board, was signed by the Governor on June 11 and became Act 238. The new law goes into effect August 1, 2021.
Act 238 allows the state psychology board to charge a registration fee for each assistant to a psychologist, not exceed $50.
Also, the board will be able to charge an application and renewal fee, up to $250, to an individual who sponsors a continuing professional development (CPD) course or activity and seeks pre-approval. A licensee who seeks pre-approval of a CPD course can be charged $25.
Act 238 also allows the board to charge “reasonable” fees for a CPD activity which may be offered, sponsored, or co-sponsored by the board.
The board will be able to charge up to $200 for special services such as applications for authority to conduct telesupervision, for emeritus status, for written or computer-generated license verifications, or mailing lists.
The measure, authored by Rep. Joe Stagni, was a compromise measure following the downsizing of a 23-page bill introduced by the psychology board in 2020 and then again this year. Under pressure from opponents, the board agreed to substitute a “fee bill,” telling sources that without the increased fees the board would not be able to operate in the future.
On the Senate floor, an amendment was attached to the bill by Alexandria Sen. Jay Luneau to rename the 2009 Act 251. Luneau’s amendment renames Act No. 251 of the 2009 Regular Session “The Dr. James W. Quillin, MP, Medical Psychology Practice Act.”
The Legislative Fiscal Office note indicates that Act 238 changes should total to $78,750 per year. The office estimates that $50,000 of this amount will come from continuing professional development preapproval applications. The Office also estimates initial registration of unlicensed assistants will grow to 420 and produce revenue of $21,000.
According to the explanation from the Fiscal Office, estimates and reasoning included:
“(1) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Preapproval Applications: 200*$250=
$50,000-$50,000 is presumed based on 1/3 of total revenue for CPD Sponsor preapprovals observed by the Physical Therapy Board, which has three times as many licensees and requires the same number of CPD hours.
“(5) Annual Renewal of Registration of Unlicensed Assistant: 420*$50 = $21,000 -LBEP [sic] cites a 2019 survey where 1/6 of LA licensees report the use of 70 assistants, thus 70*6=420…”