By the Division of Professional Licensure

6.01: Preface

262 CMR 6.00 governs the disposition of matters relating to the practice of any person holding or having held a license issued by the Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions under M.G.L. c. 112, §§ 163 through 172, and the conduct of adjudicatory hearings by the Board. 262 CMR 6.00 is based on the principle of fundamental fairness to licensees and clients and shall be construed to secure a speedy and just disposition.

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6.02: Definitions

Adjudicatory hearing. A formal administrative hearing conducted pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A.

Board. The Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions.

Complaint. A communication filed with the Board which charges a licensee with misconduct.

Informal. Not subject to strict procedural or evidentiary rules.

Licensee. A person holding or having held a license issued pursuant to M.G.L. c. 112, §§ 163 through 172.

Order to Show Cause. A paper issued by the Board ordering a licensee to appear before the Board for an adjudicatory proceeding and show cause why the licensee should not be disciplined.

Party. A respondent, prosecutor representing the Board, or intervenor in an adjudicatory proceeding pursuant to 801 CMR 1.01(9).

Quorum. A majority of the Board excluding vacancies.

Respondent. The licensee named in an Order to Show Cause.

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6.03: General Provisions

(1) Communications. all written correspondence should be addressed to and filed with the Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions, 100 Cambridge Street,15th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02202.

(2) (a) Service. The Board shall provide notice of its actions in accordance with the Standard Adjudicatory Rules of Practice and Procedure (801 CMR 1.01(4)(b) and (5)(f)) or otherwise with reasonable attempts at in-hand service, unless the respondent otherwise has actual notice of the board's action. Where 262 CMR 6.00 provides that the Board must notify parties, service may be made by first class mail. A notice of appearance on behalf of a respondent shall be deemed an agreement to accept service of any document on behalf of the respondent, including a Final Decision and Order of the Board. When a Hearing Officer has jurisdiction over an adjudicatory proceeding, proper service by the respondent includes filing copies of all papers and exhibits with: (1) the Board, care of its counsel; (2) the Hearing Officer assigned to the adjudicatory proceeding; and (3) the Prosecutor assigned to the adjudicatory proceeding. All papers served must be accompanied by a certificate of service.

(b) Notice to Board Members. A respondent (or his/her representative) and other persons shall not engage in ex parte communications with individual Board members regarding a disciplinary proceeding. Communications to the Board regarding disciplinary proceedings shall be in writing and directed to Board members as follows: One copy to the Chair of the Board, one copy to the Board Counsel, and one copy to the Prosecutor assigned to the adjudicatory proceeding.

(3) Date of Receipt. Communications are deemed received on the date of actual receipt by the Board.

(4) Computation of Time. The Board shall compute time in accordance with 801 CMR 1.01(4)(c).

(5) Extension of Time. The Board in its discretion may extend any time limit prescribed or allowed by 262 CMR 6.00.

(6) Identification and Signature; Paper Size. All papers filed with the Board in the course of a disciplinary proceeding must contain the name, address, and telephone number of the party making the filing and must be signed by either the party or an authorized representative. Paper size shall be 8 ½" by 11".

(7) Decisions by the Board; Quorum. Unless 262 CMR 6.00 provides otherwise, a majority of members present and voting at a Board meeting shall make all decisions and the Board shall record its decisions in the minutes of its meetings. A quorum is six members of the Board, provided one member is a public member.

(8) Public Nature of Board Meetings Under 262 CMR 6.00.

(a) All meetings of the Board are open to the public to the extent required by M.G.L. c. 30A, § 11A.

(b) As provided by M.G.L. c. 30A, § 11A, a Board meeting held for the purpose of making a decision required in an adjudicatory proceeding is not open to the public. Evidentiary hearings before individual hearing officers are generally open to the public, but the Board may carry out its functions under 262 CMR 6.00 in closed session if these functions affect an individual licensee or client, the licensee or client requests that the Board function in closed session, and the Board or hearing officer determines that functioning in closed session would be consistent with law and in the public interest.

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6.04: Disposition of Complaints

(1) Initiation. Any person, organization, or members of the Board may make a complaint to the Board which charges a licensee with misconduct. The Board, in its discretion, may investigate anonymous complaints.

(2) Complaint Committee. The Board may establish one or more Complaint Committees to review complaints charging a licensee with misconduct. If the Board or a Complaint Committee determines that a communication does not relate to any of the matters set forth in M.G.L. c. 112, § 169 and/or 262 CMR 6.00, the Board or the Complaint Committee may refer the communication to the proper authority or regulatory agency.

(3) Investigations.

(a) Preliminary Investigation. A Board investigator shall conduct such preliminary investigation, which may include a request for an answer from the licensee, as is necessary to allow the Board or a Complaint Committee to determine whether a complaint is frivolous or lacking in either merit or factual basis.

(b) Subsequent Inquiry, Investigation. After receipt and review of a complaint, if the Board or a Complaint Committee determines that the complaint is frivolous or lacking in either legal merit or factual basis, it may dismiss or close the complaint. As to the other complaints, the Board or a Complaint Committee shall conduct, or cause to be conducted, any reasonable inquiry or investigation it deems necessary to determine the truth and validity of the allegations set forth in the complaint.

(4) Investigative Conference. To facilitate disposition, the Board or a Complaint Committee may request any person to attend an investigative conference at any time prior to the commencement of an adjudicatory proceeding. The Board or Complaint Committee shall give timely notice of the conference with reference to the complaint or a statement of the nature of the issues to be discussed.

(5) Grounds for Complaint.

(a) Specific Grounds for Complaints Against Licensees. A complaint against a licensee may be based on any of the following: Fraudulent or deceptive procurement, or attempt at fraudulent or deceptive procurement, of a license or its renewal; commitment of an offense against any provision of the laws of the Commonwealth relating to the practice of the profession, or any rule or regulation adopted thereunder; conduct which places into question the licensee's competence to practice the profession, including but not limited to gross misconduct in the practice of the professions or practicing the profession fraudulently or deceitfully, or beyond its authorized scope, or with gross incompetence, or with gross negligence on a particular occasion or negligence on repeated occasions; violation of any regulation of the Board; failure, without cause, to cooperate with any request by the Board or its investigator to appear before it or provide it with information; practicing the profession while the ability to practice is impaired by alcohol, drugs, physical disability or mental instability; knowingly permitting, aiding or abetting an unlicensed person to perform activities requiring a license; conviction of a felony or of a crime involving moral turpitude; continuing to practice while a license is lapsed, suspended, or revoked; having been disciplined in another jurisdiction in any way by the proper licensing authority, institution, society, credentialing board, agency, or court for reasons substantially the same as those set forth in M.G.L. c. 112, §§ 61 and/or 169 and 262 CMR 6.00; cheating on or attempting to compromise the integrity of any licensing examination; or having acted in a manner which is professionally unethical according to ethical standards of the profession.

(b) Other Grounds for Complaints Against Licensees. Nothing herein shall limit the Board's adoption of policies and grounds for discipline through adjudication as well as through rule-making.

(6) Order for Answering and Answer. The Board or a Complaint Committee may order that the licensee, who is the subject of a complaint, respond to a complaint or order. A licensee shall respond to an order or complaint either personally or through his attorney, in compliance with 262 CMR 6.03(6). An answer must address the substantive allegations set forth in the complaint or order.

(7) Dismissal by Board or Complaint Committee. Upon receipt of a licensee's answer or at any point during the course of investigation or inquiry into a complaint, the Board or Complaint Committee may determine that there is not and will not be sufficient evidence to warrant further proceedings or that the complaint fails to allege misconduct for which a licensee may be sanctioned by the Board. In such event, the Board or Complaint Committee may close or dismiss the complaint and otherwise communicate with the licensee as deemed appropriate by the Board.

(8) Board Action Required. If a licensee fails to answer as requested by the Board or Complaint Committee or if the Board or Complaint Committee determines that there is reason to believe that the acts alleged occurred and constitute a violation for which a licensee may be sanctioned by the Board, the Board may vote to issue an Order to Show Cause.

(9) Disposition by the Board. The Board may require an adjudicatory hearing if it determines that there is reason to believe that the acts alleged occurred constitute a violation of any provision of 262 CMR 6.04(5) or M.G.L. c. 112, § 169. The Board may take such information action as it deems a complaint warrants. If the Board requires an adjudicatory hearing, it may appoint a Hearing Officer to preside at the adjudicatory proceeding, including referral to the Division of Administrative Law Appeals.

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6.05: Adjudicatory Hearing

After the Board issues an Order to Show Cause, the Board shall conduct all hearings in accordance with the Standard Adjudicatory Rules of Practice and Procedure (801 CMR 1.00).

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6.06: Final Decision and Order and Miscellaneous Provisions

(1) In General. Every Final Decision and Order of the Board requires the concurrence of a majority of the Board.

(2) Sanctions. In disposition of disciplinary charges brought by the Board, the Board may revoke, suspend, cancel the license, or place on probation, reprimand, censure, require the performance of public service in a manner and at a time and place to be determined by the Board, require a course of education or training, or otherwise discipline or limit the practice of a licensee.

(3) Resignation.

(a) A licensee who is named in a complaint or who is the subject to an investigation by the Board or who is the respondent in a disciplinary action may submit his resignation to the Board in writing stating that: he desires to resign; his resignation is tendered voluntarily; he realizes that resignation is a final act which deprives a person of all privileges of registration and is not subject to reconsideration or judicial review; and that he is not currently licensed to practice in any other state or jurisdiction, will make no attempt to gain licensure elsewhere, or will resign any other licenses contemporaneously with his resignation in the Commonwealth. The Board shall have the discretion to accept or reject a resignation submitted pursuant to 262 CMR 6.03.

(b) If a complaint, investigation, or Order to Show Cause arises solely out of a disciplinary action in another jurisdiction, within the meaning of 262 CMR 6.04(5)(a), the licensee may submit a resignation pursuant to 262 CMR 6.06(3)(a), but need not make any representation regarding licensure status in other jurisdictions, is permitted to gain licensure elsewhere, and need not resign any other licenses contemporaneously with the resignation.

(4) Unauthorized Practice. The Board may refer to the appropriate District Attorney or other appropriate law enforcement agency any incidents of unauthorized practice which comes to its attention.

(5) Imposition of Restrictions. Consistent with 262 CMR 6.00 and M.G.L. c. 30A or otherwise by agreement with the licensee, the Board may impose restrictions to prohibit a licensee from providing particular services except under certain conditions, if the Board determines that:

(a) the licensee has engaged in a pattern or practice which calls into question his competence to provide certain services without restrictions; or

(b) the restrictions are otherwise warranted by the public health, safety and welfare.

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REGULATORY AUTHORITY
262 CMR 6.00: M.G.L. c. 13, §§ 88 through 90; c. 112, §§ 163 through 172; St. 1987, c. 521, as amended by St. 1989, c. 720 and St. 1990, c. 477.