De Kamp, 061683 CAAGO, AGO 82-1205
|Docket Nº:||AGO 82-1205|
|Case Date:||June 16, 1983|
"They interview patients, assist in implementing treatment plans using basic knowledge of treatment modalities, conduct therapy sessions with clients who are not severely disturbed, assist client/patient in obtaining services and in providing social rehabilitation services including daily living skills, and assist in evaluation of patient treatment progress." (Emphasis added.)The job requirements range from a bachelors degree in psychology, sociology, social work, counseling, psychiatric nursing, or a related behavioral science without experience down to a high school diploma or a license as a licensed vocational nurse or licensed psychiatric technician, plus four years of experience in mental health treatment work as a primary therapist or under the supervision of a primary therapist. At the intermediate level, or Level B, the job specification states that these mental health treatment specialists shall "function as journey level workers with greater responsibility," shall "perform the same tasks as the A level incumbents but at the working level," and "[i]n addition, they prepare psychological, diagnostic, assessment and treatment recommendations using a variety of evaluation instruments, write prognosis progress reports, provide case consultation with other staff, and may coordinate services with other agencies." At this level, the job requirements range from a masters degree in social work, clinical or counseling psychology, counseling, psychiatric nursing, or a related behavioral science without experience down to a certain minimum number of upper division college units in a behavioral science which appear to be the equivalent of a major in behavioral sciences plus two years experience in mental health treatment work as a primary therapist. There is no provision at this level for the substitution of any type of licensure for educational requirements as was the case with the beginning level. At the highest level, designated as the Advanced/ Staff Level, or Level C, the mental health treatment specialist is to:
". . . work under minimum supervision to either provide intensive diagnosis, therapy, and treatment for the more severely disturbed patients or to perform staff specialist assignments in the area of program planning, monitoring, and evaluation; analysis of legislation relative to Mental Health funding and regulations; preparation and recommendation of grant applications, procedural guides, and special studies related to program operations. Incumbents act as senior clinical resource advisors, and may provide work direction to less experienced staff or student interns. They may also represent administration or supervisory personnel at meetings and committees."At this highest level the job requirements range from a Doctoral Degree in Clinical or Counseling Psychology, Social Work or other behavioral science without experience down to a minimum number of post graduate units in a behavioral science or sciences plus two years experience in mental health treatment work as a primary therapist. At this level, as with Level B, there is no licensure which may be substituted for the educational requirement. However, it is only at this level that the county has indicated a professional license may be required. Thus, the job specification states:
"License: Certain designated positions at this level may require possession of one of the following licenses issued by the State of California: (1) Licensed Clinical Social Worker; (2) Licensed Psychologist, or (3) Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor." (Emphasis added.)The fact that the above-described position in the county government's local mental health program requires no professional license at Level A or Level B, and only states that certain positions may require a professional license at Level C, gives rise to the questions presented herein. This is because by the enactment of chapter 996, Statutes of 1979, the Legislature essentially repealed a major portion of the exemption from professional licensure which had been granted to state and local government employees who work with and treat patients in a mental health setting. A. Background as to Chapter 996, Statutes of 1979 Chapter 996, Statutes of 1979, and a prior statute, chapter 321, Statutes of 1978, were enacted to severely limit previous exemptions found in the law for governmental health professionals. However, instead of directly amending the applicable licensing laws found in the Business and Professions Code, the Legislature in all but one instance (with respect to psychologists) did so by indirection. It did this by amending provisions of the Health and Safety Code relating to licensing of health facilities and by amending provision of the Short-Doyle Act relating to local mental health programs. In 64 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 305 (1981) this office considered at length the effect of chapter 996, Statutes of 1979. With certain limited exemptions, that statute amended section 1277(b) of the Health and Safety Code to require that "professional personnel, including, but not limited to, physicians and surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists, registered nurses, and clinical social workers" employed in governmental health facilities licensed by the state should be licensed in the same manner as professional personnel in private health facilities. The limited exceptions set forth in...
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