HB 244

Sponsor
Session
Regular Session 2018
Title
Psychology Professional Wellness Committee, established within Psychology Examiners board to provide intervention services to impaired licensed professionals, duties, immunity provided, Sec. 34-26-4 added
Description

Under existing law, there is no addiction recovery program or rehabilitation program designed specifically for licensed psychologists and licensed psychological technicians who may be impaired by reason of illness, inebriation, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, or other substances, or as a result of any physical or mental condition

This bill would establish the Alabama Psychology Professionals Wellness Committee, to be administered by the Board of Examiners in Psychology, to identify and intervene in instances of impairment of licensed psychology professionals caused by reason of illness, inebriation, substance dependence, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, or other substances, or as a result of any physical or mental condition

This bill would authorize the board to contract with a nonprofit organization, health professional, or professional association to assist the committee in carrying out its duties

This bill would provide for the appointment and duties of the committee members and specify reporting procedures

This bill would provide certain immunities

Relating to licensed psychology professionals; to add new Section 34-26-4 to the Code of Alabama 1975; to establish the Alabama Psychology Professionals Wellness Committee, to be administered by the Board of Examiners in Psychology, to identify and intervene in instances of impairment of licensed psychology professionals caused by reason of illness, inebriation, substance dependence, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, or other substances, or as a result of any physical or mental condition; to authorize the board to contract with a nonprofit organization, health professional, or professional association to assist the committee in carrying out its duties; to provide for the appointment and duties of the committee members and specify reporting procedures; and to provide certain immunities.

Subjects
Psychology, Alabama Board of Examiners in
View Original PDF: HB 244 - Introduced - PDF

Under existing law, there is no addiction recovery program or rehabilitation program designed specifically for licensed psychologists and licensed psychological technicians who may be impaired by reason of illness, inebriation, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, or other substances, or as a result of any physical or mental condition

This bill would establish the Alabama Psychology Professionals Wellness Committee, to be administered by the Board of Examiners in Psychology, to identify and intervene in instances of impairment of licensed psychology professionals caused by reason of illness, inebriation, substance dependence, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, or other substances, or as a result of any physical or mental condition

This bill would authorize the board to contract with a nonprofit organization, health professional, or professional association to assist the committee in carrying out its duties

This bill would provide for the appointment and duties of the committee members and specify reporting procedures

This bill would provide certain immunities

Relating to licensed psychology professionals; to add new Section 34-26-4 to the Code of Alabama 1975; to establish the Alabama Psychology Professionals Wellness Committee, to be administered by the Board of Examiners in Psychology, to identify and intervene in instances of impairment of licensed psychology professionals caused by reason of illness, inebriation, substance dependence, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, or other substances, or as a result of any physical or mental condition; to authorize the board to contract with a nonprofit organization, health professional, or professional association to assist the committee in carrying out its duties; to provide for the appointment and duties of the committee members and specify reporting procedures; and to provide certain immunities.

Section 1

Section 34-26-4 is added to the Code of Alabama 1975, to read as follows: §34-26-4. (a) As used in this section, the following words have the following meanings: (1) COMMITTEE. The Alabama Psychology Professionals Wellness Committee created under this section. (2) IMPAIRED or IMPAIRMENT. The inability of a licensed psychologist or licensed psychological technician to practice with reasonable skill and safety by reason of illness, inebriation, substance dependence, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, controlled substances, alcohol, chemicals, or other dependence forming substances, or as a result of any physical or mental condition rendering the licensee unable to meet the standards of his or her profession. (3) LICENSEE. A professional psychologist or psychological technician licensed under this chapter. (b) The Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology shall develop a program to promote the early identification, treatment, and rehabilitation of any licensee who may be impaired in accordance with this section. (c) There is established the Alabama Psychology Professionals Wellness Committee, consisting of licensed psychologists or licensed psychological technicians appointed by the board as well as one member who is a representative of the contractor described in subsection (d). The board shall determine the number, qualifications, terms, and manner in which members of the committee shall be appointed, provided the committee shall be comprised of not less than three nor more than 11 members. (d) In order to assist the committee, the board shall contract with a nonprofit organization, health professional, or professional association to undertake those functions and responsibilities specified in the agreement, which may include any of the following: (1) Receiving and evaluating reports from any source of suspected impairment. (2) Intervening in cases of verified impairment. (3) Contracting with providers of treatment programs. (4) Referring impaired licensees to treatment programs. (5) Monitoring the treatment and rehabilitation of impaired licensees. (6) Providing post-treatment monitoring and support of rehabilitated impaired licensees. (7) Performing other related activities prescribed by board rule. (e) The board, by rule, shall develop procedures for the committee to undertake the following: (1) Periodic reporting of statistical information regarding impaired licensee program activity as the board deems appropriate, which may include, but not be limited to, the number of reports made, investigations and other actions taken, and the disposition of each report. (2) Annual reporting to the board concerning the operations and proceedings of the committee for the preceding year. (f) The committee shall report to the board the following: (1) Any licensee who in the opinion of the committee is unable to practice as a psychologist or as a psychological technician with reasonable skill and safety by reason of impairment. (2) Any licensee who in the opinion of the committee is in need of intervention, treatment, or rehabilitation and who has failed or refused to participate in programs of treatment or rehabilitation recommended by the committee. (g)(1) If the board has reasonable cause to believe that a licensee is impaired, the board may require that an evaluation of the licensee be conducted by the committee for the purpose of determining whether an impairment exists. The committee shall report the findings of its evaluation to the board. (2) The authority of the committee shall not supersede the authority of the board to take disciplinary action against a licensee. Nothing in this section shall limit the authority of the board to discipline an impaired licensee. If a licensee is impaired and currently in need of intervention, treatment, or rehabilitation, and the licensee is currently participating in a program or rehabilitation recommended by the committee, then the board may refrain from taking or continuing disciplinary action against the licensee. If the board, upon reasonable cause to believe a licensee is impaired, has referred the licensee to the committee for evaluation, then the board may refrain from taking or continuing disciplinary action against the licensee. (3) A report of the committee shall be deemed to be a report to the board for the purposes of any mandated reporting of professional psychology impairment otherwise required by law. (h)(1) All information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda, or other documents furnished to or produced by the committee and any findings, conclusions, recommendations, or reports resulting from any investigation, intervention, treatment, or rehabilitation, or other proceedings of the committee are confidential. All records and proceedings of the committee pertaining to an impaired licensee are confidential and may only be used by the committee and the members of the committee in the exercise of the proper function of the committee, and are not public records nor available for court subpoena or for discovery proceedings. The committee may not disclose any personally identifiable information except as otherwise allowed under this chapter. (2) In the event of a breach of contract between the committee and an impaired licensee, all records pertaining to the conduct determined to cause the breach of contract shall be disclosed to the board, upon its request, for disciplinary purposes only. (3) This subsection does not apply to records made in the regular course of business of a licensee, and information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources may not be construed as immune from discovery or be used in any civil proceeding merely because they were presented or considered during the proceedings of the committee. (i) The board may collect funds or expend available funds to adequately provide for the operational expenses of the committee, including, but not limited to, the actual cost of travel, office overhead, personnel expenses, and compensation for the members of the committee and committee staff. The operational expenses of the committee may not include the cost of treatment or rehabilitation programs recommended by the committee to individual licensees. The funds provided by the board under this section shall not be subject to any competitive bidding law. (j) Any licensee and any representative of a nonprofit organization, health provider, or professional association who is appointed to serve as a member of the committee, and any auxiliary personnel, consultants, attorneys, or other volunteers or employees of the committee or the board taking any action authorized by this section, engaging in the performance of any duties on behalf of the committee or the board, or participating in any administrative or judicial proceeding resulting therefrom, shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed in the performance of his or her duties. Any nonprofit organization, health provider, or professional association that contracts with or receives funds from the board to assist the committee shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed in the performance of its duties.

Section 2

This act shall become effective on the first day of the sixth month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

No articles found.
Action Date Chamber Action
March 20, 2018SRead for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Health and Human Services
March 15, 2018HEngrossed
March 15, 2018HMotion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 872
March 15, 2018HMotion to Adopt adopted Roll Call 871
March 15, 2018HHealth Amendment Offered
March 15, 2018HThird Reading Passed
January 25, 2018HRead for the second time and placed on the calendar 1 amendment
January 18, 2018HRead for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Health
2018-03-15
Chamber: House
Result: Passed
2018-03-15
Chamber: House
Result: Passed
2018-01-16
Chamber: Senate
Result: Passed
2018-01-16
Chamber: Senate
Result: Passed
2018-01-16
Chamber: Senate
Result: Passed
2018-01-16
Chamber: Senate
Result: Passed