At the November 12 meeting of the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists
(LSBEP), the Board’s attorney provided an opinion that LSBEP could deny approval for a plan of supervision where supervision is to be conducted by medical psychologists who do not hold a license as a “psychologist” under the state psychology board.
This is according to a report by Dr. Kim VanGeffen, Chair of Professional Affairs of the Louisiana Psychological Association.
Dr. Michelle Moore, chair of Supervision and Credentials at the LSBEP, had first presented the problem in August. According to the August minutes, Moore “… had reviewed supervised practice plans for applicants requesting a provisional license under the jurisdiction of the LSBEP but whose supervisors were not licensed with the LSBEP, which she did not believe to be appropriate.”
“Dr. Moore further discussed that although the current regulations acknowledge that a Licensed Medical Psychologist could provide appropriate supervision, which is not disputed, for those Medical Psychologists that are not licensed with the LSBEP, as stated in Opinion #12, it is clear that LSBEP does not have regulatory control over supervisors not licensed with the LSBEP and therefore those supervisors have no accountability in providing supervision according to LSBEP’s regulations; because the supervisor is legally responsible for the practices of their supervisee, it does not appear to fall under the purview of the LSBEP to have oversight over the relationship or issue a Provisional License to an individual for which it could not effectively regulate; […]”
Dr. Gormanous moved that the members of the board seek the advice of their general legal counsel.
According to VanGeffen, “… the Board has been reviewing the issue of medical psychologists providing supervision of individuals who seek licensure under the Louisiana Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Currently, individuals seeking licensure are required to submit to the Board a plan of supervised practice which would go toward their supervision requirements,” she noted.
“Currently, candidates for licensure are allowed to be supervised by a medical psychologist whether or not they are licensed under LSBEP. The Board asked its attorney to review this issue,” VanGeffen said.
“The Board’s attorney provided an opinion that LSBEP could deny approval for a plan of supervision where supervision is to be conducted by a medical psychologist who is not licensed under LSBEP as LSBEP would not have regulatory authority over the supervision or supervisor unless the supervising psychologist is also licensed under LSBEP. The Board plans to continue to review this issue,” said VanGeffen.
The topic has a history. In 2009, Act 251 moved medical psychologists and their practice of psychology from the psychology board to the medical board. Medical psychologists would no longer be required to maintain their license under the psychology board.
In 2010, consistent with the how the law defines a “Psychologist,” members of the state psychology board ruled, in Opinion #12, that only those licensed under the LSBEP could supervise those seeking a license in psychology.
At that time, the then LSBEP Chair, Dr. Joseph Comaty, also a medical psychologist, said that the section in the psychology law clearly defines who may deliver supervision to candidates seeking licensure.
Dr. Comaty said, “In RS 37, 2352, the licensing law for psychologists, it clearly defines what a psychologist is. They [those who supervise] have to hold a license from the LSBEP in order to supervise someone for licensure. MPs don’t meet this requirement.”
The ruling required medical psychologists, who wanted to provide supervision to interns, to maintain a valid psychology license under LSBEP. “The remedy is to reapply to reinstate their license,” said Dr. Comaty. “If you are currently lapsed, we’ll consider your re- instatement retroactively.”
However, in May 2011, the board reversed its decision after being lobbied by Dr. Robert Marier, Executive Director of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME), and also by Dr. John Bolter, member of the Medical Psychology Advisory Committee at the state medical board.
In their letters, Drs. Marier and Bolter asked the LSBEP to reconsider its 2010 ruling. They said that the intent of Act 251 was to transfer all aspects of psychology practice to medicine. They said that this conclusion could be inferred from numerous references throughout various laws.
Dr. Bolter noted references that listed the term medical psychologist along with the term psychologist; three sections of mental health law and one in Workers Compensation law. He said the term psychologist could also mean medical psychologist.
Dr. Rita Culross was the only nay vote against reversal. None of the three medical psychologists serving at that time recused themselves from the vote.
[Editors note: For original news reports see Times Vol. 2, Numbers 2 and 11; Vol. 3,
Numbers 1 & 3]