Policy Advisory

Policy Advisory Board Policies and Guidelines (Allied Mental Health)

Date: 12/06/2017
Referenced Sources: Division of Occupational Licensure

Table of Contents

Allied Mental Health Board Application Review Policy

Allied Mental Health Board Application Review Policy

March 19, 2021

I. Summary:

The Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions (“Board”) issues this policy allowing applicants for all license types 30 days to submit additional materials after staff notifies them of missing information.  If an application remains incomplete after 30 days, staff will close the application as outlined below.  If any 30-day period below ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, this policy extends the 30-day period to the next business day.  To reapply after staff closes an application, the applicant must pay a new application fee.

II. Application Review Policy:

To close applications efficiently, the Board imposes a time limit on applicants as follows:

  1. Initial Review: If an application is incomplete, staff will notify the applicant of what is missing and that the applicant has 30 days from that notification date to submit additional information. 
  2. Re-Review 30 Days After Staff Notifies Applicant:
    1. 30 days after staff notifies an applicant of what is missing, staff will review the application again.  If the application remains incomplete, staff will notify the applicant that staff has closed the application, and the applicant must reapply and pay a new application fee.
    2. If an application is complete but the Board must determine good moral character, review past discipline, or determine the quality of education or experience of an applicant, staff will place the application on the Board’s agenda for review in accordance with applicable statutes and regulations.
  3. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) Applicants: The preceding process applies to LMFT applicants with modifications as follows:
    1. Examination Candidates: LMFT applicants seeking approval to take the National MFT Examination have 30 days to submit additional information after staff notifies them that information is missing.  If an application is incomplete 30 days after staff notifies the applicant of what is missing, staff will close the application, and the applicant must reapply and pay a new application fee.  If staff approves an applicant to take the National MFT Examination, the application then remains open for 30 days after the applicant passes the examination and submits any additional required documentation, and staff notifies the applicant that information is missing.  If an application is incomplete 30 days after staff notifies the applicant of what is missing, staff will close the application, and the applicant must reapply and pay a new application fee.
    2. Applicants Who Have Passed the National MFT Examination: LMFT applicants who have passed the National MFT Examination when they apply have 30 days to submit additional information after staff notifies them that information is missing.  If an application is incomplete 30 days after staff notifies an applicant of what is missing, staff will close the application, and the applicant must reapply and pay a new application fee. 
  4. License Fee: When staff or the Board concludes that an application is complete and an applicant is eligible for licensure, staff will notify the applicant of the applicant’s eligibility and will instruct the applicant to pay the license fee.  The applicant has 30 days after notification to pay the license fee.  If the applicant does not pay the license fee within 30 days, staff will notify the applicant that staff has closed the application, and the applicant must reapply and pay a new application fee.

Applications reviewed for the first time by staff before April 5, 2021 are not subject to this policy. 

 

Emergency Policy on Pre-Master’s Degree Experience

Emergency Policy on Pre-Master’s Degree Experience

At its meeting on April 16, 2021, the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions voted to extend the following policy:

Licensed Mental Health Counselor Applicants: Because of the current declared state of emergency in Massachusetts, a licensed mental health counselor applicant who graduates from an acceptable master’s degree program from March 10, 2020 through September 30, 2021 and has not finished the required pre-master’s degree internship described in 262 CMR 2.00, et seq., may complete that internship using additional hours earned during an acceptable practicum or post-graduate work experience.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Applicants: Because of the current declared state of emergency in Massachusetts, a licensed marriage and family therapist applicant who graduates from an acceptable master’s degree program from March 10, 2020 through September 30, 2021 and has not finished the required pre-master’s degree “clinical internship or practicum” described in 262 CMR 3.00, et seq., may complete that “clinical internship or practicum” using additional hours earned during an acceptable post-graduate work experience.

This policy does not modify the required amounts of specific types of hours for a practicum, internship, or post-master’s degree work experience, and no hours may be counted for more than one such experience.

Policy on Teletherapy for Applicant Experience and Supervision Hours

At its meeting on August 20, 2021, the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions voted to extend the following policy:

To the extent applicable for applicants of all license types, and in consideration of 2020 Mass. Acts Ch. 260, “An Act Promoting a Resilient Health Care System that Puts Patients First,” teletherapy sessions and supervision through video conferencing or telephone that will occur from September 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 will be accepted toward experience hours and Direct Client Contact Experience or supervision requirements. The Board reserves the right to amend this Policy after that time.

Practice Advisory: Practicing with Children and Families in Massachusetts where Parents may be Separated, Divorced or Never Married

Practice Advisory: Practicing with Children and Families in Massachusetts where Parents may be Separated, Divorced or Never Married

Adopted July 20, 2012 at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Service Professionals, Amended March 19, 2021

Due to the large number of telephone calls, complaints and other inquiries from both licensees and parents in this area of practice, the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Service Professionals wishes to advise licensees of the following information related to the practices of licensed mental health counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed applied behavior analyst and assistant applied behavior analysts, licensed educational psychologists, and licensed rehabilitation counselors (collectively “licensees”) with children and families in the process of separation-divorce, never married, or post-divorce. Given that this policy deals with issues of confidentiality and testimonial privilege, and potential exceptions thereto, licensees are strongly advised to seek consultation from knowledgeable persons, including legal counsel in an appropriate circumstance:

1. It is very important for licensees engaged in treatment of a minor child whose parents are separated or divorced, or who were never married to each other, to understand the custodial rights that each parent has. Under the law, terms like “physical custody” and “legal custody” have specific meanings that are highly relevant to a professional treating a child.

2. The child-client whose parents are divorced or in the process of divorce has his or her own confidentiality rights and evidentiary privilege with respect to his or her relationship with the therapist. In other words, a licensee may not divulge the substance of what the child client has discussed either orally or by release of written records just because a parent asks for this information. This information may only be released with a court order or with the signed, informed consent of a mature minor. As stated by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the 1987 case Adoption of Diane, “[W]here the parent and child may well have conflicting interests, and where the nature of the proceeding itself implies uncertainty concerning the parent’s ability to further the child’s best interests, it would be anomalous to allow the parent to exercise the privilege on the child’s behalf.” This case law has been interpreted further to mean that confidential information provided by the child in a psychotherapy environment, including a copy of the child’s record, should not be released to either parent or to the court, even with a signed release from one or both parents. Only the court can waive the child’s privilege and/or make a determination as to the release of confidential psychotherapy records, and Probate courts can and do appoint special guardians ad litem to decide this question for a child.

3. Child therapists should refrain from initiating therapy with a child without the consent of both parents, unless there are legitimate protective issues relating to the child or other mitigating circumstances. Reaching out to the parent who did not initiate treatment for the child is a best practice that can help the therapist understand all sides of the child’s family situation and protect against being perceived as biased or allied with one parent.

4. Sole legal custody is rarely awarded in Massachusetts except in circumstances in which one parent has died, there are protective issues, or the parents were never married. In these cases, the licensee should inquire as to the circumstances of the family before deciding whether to reach out to the non-custodial parent for his/her consent and involvement in the treatment.

5. It is advisable for licensees to communicate to parents prior to initiating treatment with a child, preferably in an informed consent document signed by all parties, that confidential information will not be released to the parent.

6. Psychotherapy and child custody evaluation are two very distinct services with different roles and responsibilities. The same licensee should not undertake both roles. “[Licensees] conducting a child custody evaluation with their current or prior psychotherapy clients and [licensees] conducting psychotherapy with their current or prior child custody examinees are both examples of multiple relationships.” (Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Family Law Proceedings, 2010).

7. A child therapist should not write evaluative reports to lawyers or the court. Factual reports (providing information regarding the existence of the therapeutic relationship) should be provided only in response to a court order and only after legal consultation.

8. A child custody evaluation is a specialized area of practice. In general, such forensic evaluations are conducted by court order and are assigned to specialized practitioners who have been certified in this area and are on the court’s list of approved providers, known as “Category E Guardians ad Litem.” A comprehensive set of standards apply to evaluative child custody investigations.

9. A therapist for a parent should not write evaluative reports or make custody-visitation recommendations for use in court. Additionally, therapists should never submit evaluative letters or reports regarding the spouse or partner of their patient.

Working therapeutically with children in separated, divorced, or unmarried families requires a higher level of expertise, training, and consultation than working with children in intact families. It is good practice, whenever one is in doubt about how to proceed, to seek consultation with experts or with an attorney familiar with this work.

Reciprocity Standards for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)

Reciprocity Standards for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)

At its meeting on September 18, 2020, the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions voted to adopt the following policy:

An applicant who is licensed in another jurisdiction as an LMHC or LMFT, or the equivalent, may be licensed in Massachusetts by providing:

  1. A complete application for licensure as prescribed by the Board;
  2. A final transcript which demonstrates that the applicable degree and education requirements have been met;
  3. Evidence of a passing score on the relevant examination; and
  4. A license verification from another jurisdiction showing that the applicant has been licensed and in good standing for three years before applying.
  5. LMHCs only: A signed statement under the penalties of perjury that the applicant has worked full-time, or the equivalent part-time, for three years as a licensed LMHC in another jurisdiction.

Policy on Procedure for Reinstatement of License after Expiration And for Renewal of Lapsed/Expired Licenses: Policy No. 17-001

Policy on Procedure for Reinstatement of License after Expiration And for Renewal of Lapsed/Expired Licenses

The Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions (“the Board”) voted at its meeting on August 21, 2020 to update this policy, original adopted on May 19, 2017.

Policy No. 17-001

Purpose:

The purpose of this policy statement is to offer guidance to Licensees regarding the procedures for the renewal of lapsed/expired licenses as set forth in 262 CMR § 9.01.

Policy:

  1. If a licensee seeks to reinstate a license within two years (one renewal cycle) of the license’s expiration date, the licensee may, upon discretion of the Board, renew the license by completing a renewal application, including attesting to completion of all appropriate continuing education (30 Contact Hours), paying the current renewal fee, and paying a late fee.
  2. If a licensee seeks to reinstate a license beyond two years and less than four years of the license’s expiration date, the licensee may, upon discretion of the Board, renew the license by completing the following:
    1. submit a completed reinstatement application, together with documentation of completion of 30 Contact Hours of continuing education, and
    2. pay two current renewal fees and any late fee as may be established by the Secretary of Administration and Finance pursuant to G.L. c. 7, § 3B to the Board.
  3. If a licensee seeks to reinstate a license beyond four years and less than six years (two renewal cycles) of the license’s expiration date, the applicant may, upon discretion of the Board, renew the license by completing the following:
    1. submit a completed reinstatement application, together with documentation of completion of 60 Contact Hours of continuing education completed within the last four years; and
    2. pay two current renewal fees and any late fee as may be established by the Secretary of Administration and Finance pursuant to G.L. 7, § 3B to the Board.
  4. If a licensee seeks to reinstate a license beyond six years (three renewal cycles or more) of the license’s expiration date, the applicant may, upon discretion of the Board, renew the license by completing the following:
    1. submit a completed reinstatement application, together with documentation of completion of 90 Contact Hours of continuing education completed within the last six years;
    2. take and pass the examination required for licensure unless the licensee has maintained a license in good standing in another jurisdiction during the entire period the license was expired; and
    3. pay two current renewal fees and any late fee as may be established by the Secretary of Administration and Finance pursuant to G.L. 7, § 3B to the Board.

 

Continuing Education Requirements: Policy No. 2020-01

Policy No.: 2020-01

The Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals ("Board") voted at its meeting on October 16, 2020 to adopt the following Policy.  The Board adopts Policy guidelines to reflect standards of professional practice and uses them in formulating decisions that relate to the Board’s licensees. 

By issuing this Policy No. 2020-01, the Board hereby rescinds the following former Policies:

  • Use of Home Study and On-Line Programs to meet the Continuing Education Requirements: Policy No.: 07-02;
  • Policy on Board Recognized Entities Designated to Approve Sponsors of Continuing Education Courses: Policy No. 08-01; and
  • Policy on Proration of Continuing Education Requirements: Policy No. 09-01.

 

Purpose:

The purpose of this policy statement is to offer guidance to Licensees regarding the Continuing Education Requirements set forth in 262 Code Mass. Regs. (CMR) 7.03(1). 

Policy:

Section I: Topics for Continuing Education

The Board encourages licensees to obtain some contact hours in the following areas as part of the “30 contact hours of continuing education activities” required in each renewal cycle by 262 CMR 7.03(1):

  • Three (3) contact hours of Ethics;
  • Three (3) contact hours of Anti-Discrimination; and
  • Three (3) contact hours of Supervision training for Licensees who supervise clinical work of students, interns, or others.

 

Section II: Board Recognized Entities

Designated to Approve Sponsors of Continuing Education Courses

Board-Recognized Entities” is defined in 262 CMR 7.02 as “Entities that the Board has designated as appropriate to approve sponsors of continuing education activities. Entities may define continuing education content areas appropriate for the specific license. Designated entities may define procedures for the sponsors to follow in the delivery of continuing education activities.”

In accordance with the above definition, the Board will accept courses or programs approved by the following entities:

For Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC): Courses approved under the standards of the Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association (MAMHCA) or the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).

For Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT): Courses approved under the standards of the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT), the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and/or their appointed Continuing Education administrators approved by this Board.

For Licensed Rehabilitation Counselors (LRC): Courses approved by the Commission of Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC) or Massachusetts Rehabilitation Counselors Association (MRCA).

For Licensed Educational Psychologists (LEP): Courses approved by the MA Department of Education, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Psychological Association and the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association.

For Licensed Applied Behavior Analysts and Licensed Assistant Applied Behavior Analysts (LABA and LAABA): Courses offered by an Authorized Continuing Education (ACE) provider, as designated and approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

 

Section III: Proration of Continuing Education Requirements

For New Licensees

The number of continuing education hours required for license renewal shall be pro-rated for the licensure period in which a Licensee first obtains a license from the Board, as follows:

  1. A licensee who first receives a license between January and June of an even-numbered calendar year shall complete 22.5 continuing education hours before the end of the licensing cycle.
  2. A licensee who first receives a license between July and December of an even-numbered calendar year shall complete 15 continuing education hours before the end of the licensing cycle.
  3. A licensee who first receives a license between January and June of an odd-numbered calendar year shall complete 7.5 continuing education hours before the end of the licensing cycle.; and
  4. A licensee who first receives a license between July and December of an odd-numbered year shall not be required to complete any continuing education hours for that licensing cycle.

 Authority: M.G.L. Chapter 13, Section 90; and 262 CMR 7.00

 

 

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Policy on Distance, Online, and Other Electronic-Assisted Counseling: Policy No. 07-03

Policy on Distance, Online, and Other Electronic-Assisted Counseling: Policy No. 07-03

The Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals ("the Board") voted at its meeting on November 16, 2007 to adopt the following Policy Guideline. This policy guideline is intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. The guideline set forth below does not have the full force and effect of law, as would a Massachusetts General Law or a Board rule or regulation. However, the Board uses policy guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to issues in the practice of allied mental health and human services.

Policy No. 07-03

Purpose:

The Board acknowledges that therapy and counseling are increasingly being provided at a distance, making use of the internet, telephone and other electronic means of communication. The emergence of new clinical procedures is necessarily accompanied by uncertainty about legal and ethical obligations. The purpose of this policy statement is to offer guidance to Licensees regarding the ethical obligations and standards of conduct in the use of distance, on-line, and other electronic assisted counseling.

 

Policy:

The Board’s policy with regard to all distance or electronic-assisted provision of clinical services is as follows:

  1. The services offered by licensees of this Board across a distance by electronic means, fall within the jurisdiction of the Board just as traditional, face-to-face services do. Therefore all Board policies and regulations will apply to these services.
  2. Distance delivery of counseling and therapy is considered to occur in two locations: where the client is located and where the clinician is located.
  3. Therefore, the provision of counseling and/or therapy to individuals located within Massachusetts at the time services are occurring, are considered to fall under the jurisdiction of the Board, regardless of the location of the provider.
  4. Mental health professionals licensed by any jurisdiction other than Massachusetts, and not licensed by any Massachusetts Board or not eligible for an exception to Massachusetts licensure, are considered unlicensed by this Board for practice in Massachusetts.
  5. Mental health professionals licensed by other jurisdictions who wish to provide services to clients within Massachusetts, are encouraged to apply for Massachusetts licensure. Some, licensees may find the following helpful:
    1. Mental Health Counselors: 262CMR 2.03, (1) Licensure for CCMHC’s in good standing with NBCC
    2. MFT’s: 262 CMR 3.04 Licensure by Reciprocity for MFT’s.
  6. Board licensees who wish to provide services via electronic means to clients located outside of Massachusetts are urged to ensure that they meet the requirements for practice within the jurisdiction where the client is located.
  7. Licensees are encouraged to carefully review the way in which the structure of their relationships with clients will be impacted by distance-therapy or counseling to ensure compliance with Board regulations and standards of practice.
  8. The following are some areas of practice that licensees should carefully consider:
    1. Informed consent
    2. Confidentiality
    3. Basis for making clinical judgments
    4. Areas of competence
    5. Avoiding harm
    6. Fees and financial arrangements
    7. Advertising
    8. Abandonment of clients
    9. Handling requests for obtaining clinical records
  9. The Board expects licensees to understand and overcome the significant challenges inherent in providing counseling and therapy without face-to-face contact with the client.
  10. Some of the challenges that licensees are expected to manage include, but are not limited to:
    1. Full disclosure with regard to potential risks to confidentiality, including computer hacking and/or archiving of communications.
    2. Full disclosure of the limits to confidentiality in the jurisdictions where the client, and where the clinician are located.
    3. Full disclosure of mandated reporting requirements in the jurisdictions where the client, and where the clinician are located.
    4. Full disclosure with regard to the potential disadvantages or limitations of electronic-assisted clinical services.
    5. Redirection and/or referral of clients for whom electronic services will not be adequate or appropriate.
    6. Full disclosure with regard to fees and billing practices.
    7. Full disclosure with regard to licensing, credentials and areas of expertise.
    8. Screening and local referral for critical and urgent problems.
    9. Verification of the identity and age of the client.
    10. Obtaining consent to provide services by a guardian for minors or other vulnerable clients.
    11. Management of any misunderstanding or compensation for any missing information, resulting from the lack of visual or auditory cues.
    12. Managing the problem of incomplete or inaccurate diagnoses that may result from electronic-assisted services.
    13. Managing the potential for technology failure.
    14. Procedures for contacting the clinician when he/she is offline
  11. The Board expects that licensees providing any form of distance counseling will comply with all of the guidelines of ethical practice that apply to traditional, face-to-face counseling.
  12. The Board expects that licensees will practice distance counseling in a manner that is consistent with any existing guidelines provided by their professional associations.
  13. The Board expects that licensees providing any form of distance counseling will ensure that they are properly trained to manage the specific challenges of this form of counseling and will regularly participate in sufficient continuing education activities that maintain and update the required skills.
  14. Unlicensed providers of electronic-assisted counseling will be treated by the Board in the same manner as providers of unlicensed counseling in traditional settings.

Authority: M.G.L. Chapter 13, Section 90; and 262 CMR 8.00 et seq.

LMHC Course Policy: Policy #07-01

LMHC Course Policy

Adopted May 18, 2007

Purpose:
To more clearly define content required within the ten Required Course Areas set out in 262 C.M.R. 2.05(2)(d).

It is expected that all courses taken to meet the required course areas of the educational requirements for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor will focus specifically on mental health counseling. The content of courses used to meet the ten required areas stipulated in the educational requirements must include a range of recognized Mental Health Counseling approaches and not be restricted to one specialty area.

For those applicants, matriculating prior to August 1 st 2008, whose syllabi does not set out these standards, the Board will accept a letter of clarification from the DEAN or Department Chair attesting that this course does in fact meet these policy standards. All applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The following are more specific descriptions of the ten required content areas. It is expected that the course descriptions for courses used to meet the educational requirements will reflect this information.

 

  1. Counseling Theory:
    Examination of the major theories, principles and techniques of Mental Health Counseling and their application to professional counseling settings. Understanding and applying theoretical perspectives with clients.
  2. Human Growth and Development:
    Understanding the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental stages of life. Understanding major theories of physical, cognitive, affective and social development and their application to Mental Health Counseling practice.
  3. Psychopathology:
    Identification and diagnosis and mental health treatment planning for abnormal, deviant, or psychopathological behavior, includes assessments and treatment procedures.
  4. Social and Cultural Foundations:
    Theories of multicultural counseling, issues and trends of a multicultural and diverse society. Foundational knowledge and skills needed to provide mental health counseling services to diverse populations in a culturally competent manner.
  5. Helping Relationships: Understanding of the theoretical bases of the helping processes, mental health counseling techniques, and their applications. Understanding and practice of helping skills necessary for the Mental Health Counselor.
  6. Group Work:
    Theoretical and Experiential understandings of group development, purpose, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, as well as leadership styles. Understanding of the dynamics and processes of Mental Health (therapeutic, psychosocial, psycho-educational) groups.
  7. Special Treatment Issues:
    Elective areas relevant to the practice of mental health counseling, i.e. psychopharmacology, substance abuse, school or career issues, marriage and family treatment, sexuality and lifestyle choices, treating special populations.
  8. Appraisal:
    Individual and group educational and psychometric theories and approaches to appraisal. Examination of the various instruments and methods of psychological appraisal and assessment utilized by the mental health counselor. The function of measurement and evaluation, purposes of testing, reliability and validity.
  9. Research and Evaluation:
    Understanding social science research and evaluative methodologies and strategies, types of research, program evaluation, needs assessments, ethical and legal considerations.
  10. Professional Orientation:
    Understanding of professional roles and functions of Mental Health Counselors, with particular emphasis on legal and ethical standards. Ethical case conceptualization, analysis and decision making as relates to clinical practice. Knowledge and understanding of the standards set by the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association. Understanding of licensure and regulatory practices

Definition of Clinical Field Experience Policy Guidelines

The Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals ("the Board") voted at its meeting on July 20, 2018 to adopt the following Policy Guideline. This policy guideline is intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. The guideline set forth below does not have the full force and effect of law, as would a Massachusetts General Law or a Board rule or regulation. However, the Board uses policy guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to issues in the practice of allied mental health and human services.

Policy No. 19-01

Purpose:

The purpose of this policy statement is to offer guidance to applicants and the public on what constitutes qualifying clinical field experience for applicants seeking licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and as a Rehabilitation Counselor (RC).

Policy:

Qualifying experience must be at a site which delivers a comprehensive group of diagnostic and psychotherapeutic treatment services to individuals and/or families with mental health issues by an interdisciplinary team.

Mental Health Centers must meet the following criteria:

    • All ethical, legal, HIPAA and clinical standards of practice    
    • An organizational structure, with staffing positions, usually including a clinical director and at least one licensed supervisor.                                                                                                    
    •  Record-keeping is routine and overseen by management                                                                                            
    • Requests for records managed according to written policy consistent with HIPAA etc. and overseen by the licensed supervisor. This supervisor has clinical responsibility for clients, and adequate time to ensure clinical success.

Services provided

 

A mental health center must have services available to treat a wide range of mental health and emotional disorders, and it must provide comprehensive diagnostic assessments for a wide range of problems, provide psychotherapeutic treatment services or the ability to make appropriate referral when necessary. 

Staff Composition Requirements

The mental health center must have a balanced interdisciplinary staffing plan that shall include three or more core professional staff members who are independently licensed as one of the following:  Medical Doctor, Psychiatrist, PA, NP, RN, Licensed Psychologist, LICSW, LMHC, LMFT or LRC.

Authority: M.G.L. c. 13, §90; and 262 CMR 2.00, 3.00. 4.00

Medical Office Practices

Policy on Criminal Conviction or Pending Criminal Charges

Policy No. 09-04

Updated January 18, 2019 and March 19, 2021

Purpose:

The Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions (“the Board”) issues this policy to explain when an applicant’s criminal conviction could lead to the Board denying that applicant a license.  Under G.L. c. 112, § 165, “each applicant shall provide satisfactory evidence to the board that such applicant: (1) is of good moral character; [and] (2) has not engaged or is not engaging in any practice or conduct which would be grounds for refusing to issue a license under section one hundred sixty-nine,” which includes a “crime which the board determines to be of such a nature as to render such person unfit to practice as a mental health and human services professional,” G.L. c. 112, § 169(1).  Pursuant to Chapter 69 of the Acts of 2018 (An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform), the Board is required to provide “a list of the specific criminal convictions that are directly related to the duties and responsibilities for the licensed occupation that would disqualify an applicant from eligibility for a license.”  The Board has determined that no single conviction alone would disqualify an applicant from a license, but factors such as a very recent conviction, other criminal convictions, or aggravating factors (such as a crime being caused by substance abuse issues, the crime being part of a pattern of violence, or the matter leading to a level 3 Sex Offender designation) could justify the Board in denying a license to an otherwise eligible applicant.  As a result, any conviction could lead to the Board denying an applicant a license, including ALL the crimes listed on the Master Crime List issued by the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission at this link: https://www.mass.gov/doc/master-crime-list 

This policy provides guidance to applicants and Board staff members regarding conviction and pending criminal case information that requires further review and/or the applicant’s appearance before the Board to determine eligibility for licensure.   

Policy:

The Executive Director and Associate Executive Director are authorized, in conjunction with Board Counsel, to review the records of criminal convictions and pending criminal cases in Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) received from the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services or otherwise made available to the Board to determine whether review or an appearance before the Board is necessary for an applicant who has a record of one or more criminal convictions.  In determining who must appear before the Board, the Executive Director, Associate Executive Director, and Board Counsel shall act in a manner consistent with the following guidelines.

An applicant must be reviewed by the Board and/or appear at a Board meeting where:

  1. The applicant has been convicted of any felony within ten (10) years of the application date. 
  2. The applicant has been convicted of more than two (2) misdemeanors within the past ten (10) years.
  3. The applicant has a pending criminal case concerning an open criminal charge for which a disposition has not yet been entered.
  4. The applicant has been convicted of or has a pending criminal case that relates to fraudulent activities in his or her professional practice.
  5. The applicant has failed to disclose a conviction, whenever it occurred.  In such instances, Board staff will request a statement explaining the reasons for the non-disclosure prior to Board review.
  6. The applicant has been convicted of, or has a pending criminal, civil, or disciplinary case that relates to a sex offense, or is currently classified as a Sex Offender by the Sex Offender Registry Board.

In addition to the above, the Executive Director, Associate Executive Director, and/or Board Counsel may require Board review and/or an appearance before the Board of any applicant whose record contains any conviction or pending charge that the Executive Director, Associate Executive Director, or Board Counsel believes the Board should review.  In evaluating whether an appearance is necessary, the Executive Director, Associate Executive Director, and Board Counsel will consider multiple factors, including but not limited to, whether the applicant has been convicted of an offense that involved fraud, dishonesty or deceit or an offense that calls into question the applicant’s ability to practice his or her profession with a reasonable degree of skill and safety and in accordance with accepted standards of sound professional practice. 

If the Board reviews an applicant or requires an appearance by the applicant under this policy, the applicant shall be provided with a copy of this policy, a copy of the CORI, and a copy of DCJIS’s Information Concerning the Process for Correcting a Criminal Record.  The applicant must then be provided with an opportunity to dispute the accuracy of the CORI.  It shall be the burden of the applicant challenging the accuracy of CORI to provide a corrected CORI or certified court records to show that the original CORI was inaccurate.

The applicant will be notified in a timely manner of the Board’s decision regarding the applicant’s suitability for licensure, the basis for that decision, and any hearing rights.

Authority: M.G.L. Chapter 13, Section 90

Referenced Sources:
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