Bill Summary for H 678 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

May 1 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 678 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 10, 2019
AN ACT TO AMEND THE LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS ACT; TO UPDATE AND REVISE THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE ACT; AND TO AMEND THE SOCIAL WORKER CERTIFICATION AND LICENSURE ACT.
Intro. by Potts, Dobson, Lambeth.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 1st edition adds the following provisions to the act and makes conforming changes to the act's titles.

Part III.

Amends GS 90-113.31A to amend the definition of independent study and to define traditional classroom-based study. Effective October 1, 2019.

Part IV.

Amends GS 90-113.32 to make the North Carolina Addictions Specialist Professional Practice Board (Board), instead of the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board, the authority to credential substance use disorder professionals in North Carolina. 

Repeals GS 90-113.32(c), which set out the membership of the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board. Instead, adds new (c2), which sets out the membership of the new nine-member Board. Refers to the Board chair instead of the President, who may vote only in the case of a tie or when another member abstains on the question of whether the professional discipline the members represent must retain its deemed status. Repeals (d), which allowed for the appointment of five professionals from the field of substance abuse counseling and substance abuse prevention consulting to serve on the Nominating and Elections Committee. Sets Board member terms at three years. Sets out provisions creating staggered terms, and provides for the filling of vacancies. Sets out provisions governing member reimbursements, election of Board officers, officer terms, and chair terms. 

Effective July 1, 2020.

Part V.

Amends GS 90-113.40 to raise the number of required hours of Board-approved education for certification as a certified substance-use disorder counselor (was, substance abuse counselor) or as a certified criminal justice addictions professional from 270 to 300 hours. Applies to applications for licenses submitted on or after October 1, 2019.

Part VI. 

Enacts new GS 90-113.48 (program for impaired substance use disorder professionals). Creates the North Carolina Impaired Professionals Program (Program). Authorizes the Board to provide funds for the Program, which will operate independent of the Board to provide screening, referral, monitoring, educational, and support services for professionals credentialed pursuant to GS Chapter 90, Article 5C (North Carolina Substance Abuse Professionals Certification Act), for treatment and rehabilitation of an impairment attributed to physical or mental illness, substance use disorder, or professional sexual misconduct. Authorizes the Program to enter into an agreement with credentialed substance use disorder professionals for the purpose of identifying, reviewing, and evaluating referred or self-referred substance abuse professionals to function in their professional capacity and coordinate regimens for treatment and rehabilitation. Provides requirements for such an agreement. Directs the Program to immediately report to the Board information about credentialed substance-abuse professionals who meet any of four listed criteria, including constituting an immediate danger to patient care. Provides that materials in the possession of the Program or its staff, employees, legal counsel, and volunteers, related to a member's participation or prospective participation in the Program are not public records. Authorizes persons participating in good faith in the Program to withhold that fact in a civil action or proceeding. Provides that activities in good faith under an agreement authorized by this statute are not grounds for civil action. Provides for written assessments by the Program, and to the extent permitted by law any written assessment created by a treatment provider or facility at the recommendation of the Program to be provided to certified substance abuse professionals and their legal counsel at the request of the professional, and provides that the information is inadmissible as evidence in any civil action or proceeding. Directs the Board to adopt rules to apply to the operation of the Program, with eight listed requirements for the rules.

Effective October 1, 2019.

Part VII.

Amends Article 5C of Chapter 90 as follows. Changes the name of the Article to the North Carolina Substance Use Disorder Professional Practice Act. Makes changes throughout the Article to refer to substance use disorder instead of substance abuse. Changes the term "certified substance abuse counselor" to "certified alcohol and drug counselor," "substance abuse counselor intern" to "alcohol and drug counselor intern," and "substance abuse professional" to "substance use disorder professional."

Removes the provision allowing for the issuance of a Substance Abuse Residential Facility Director. Makes conforming deletions. 

Makes additional conforming and technical changes.

Effective October 1, 2019.

Part VIII.

Discontinues the certified substance abuse residential facility director credential, and directs the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board (Board) to no longer issue or renew that credential to any person, effective July 1, 2019.

Repeals GS 90-113.31A(8) (defining certified substance abuse residential facility director). Makes conforming changes to GS 113.31A(26), GS 113.31B(5), GS 90-113.38(a), GS 90-113.42(d), and GS 90-113.43(a). Effective upon the expiration of the last certified substance abuse residential facility director credential issued prior to the effective date of this act. Directs the Board to notify the Revisor of Statutes when that occurs.

Part IX. 

Amends GS 90B-3, which sets out the definitions for GS Chapter 90B, Social Worker Certification and Licensure Act, by adding and defining the terms applicant and supervision. Defines social work continuing education as training that, in accordance with the requirements established by the Board, (1) fosters the enhancement of generalized or specialized social work practice, values, skills, or knowledge and (2) includes an element addressing how the knowledge and skills may be applied to the practice of social work. Amends the definition of social worker to add a person who has earned a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree in social work from a social work program accredited by or in candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education.  

Amends GS 90B-4 as follows. Adds that a person who resides and practices social work in this state while credentialed in another must clearly amend reference to his or her credential to identify the state or jurisdiction where the credential is held. Adds that a person who resides and practices clinical social work in this state for not more than five days in a calendar year while credentialed in another must clearly amend reference to his or her credential to identify the state or jurisdiction where the credential is held. 

Amends GS 90B-5 by amending the required qualifications for members of the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board (Board). 

Amends GS 90B-6 by amending the Board's powers to give the Board the power to adopt supervision standards. Extends the period of time that a licensed social worker is required to maintain records from three years to the longer of: (1) ten years from the date the social worker terminates service to the client and the client services record is closed or (2) the record retention period mandated by a third-party payee. Makes additional clarifying changes. 

Amends GS 90B-7 by amending the qualifications for issuance of a certificate as a certified social worker, certified master social worker, or a certified social work manager, or a license as a licensed clinical social worker to require that the applicant have the specified type of degree in social work from a college or university social work program approved, accredited, or admitted to candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education and that the applicant have passed the Board-approved qualifying exam (retains the additional work experience requirements for licensed clinical social workers and certified social work managers). Allows issuance of an associate license in clinical social work to a person with a masters or doctoral degree in social work from a college or university with a social work program approved, accredited, or in candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education and who desires to be licensed as a licensed clinical social worker. Removes requirement for passing the exam within two years for renewal of the associate license. Allows associate licensees who do not satisfy all requirements for licensed clinical social worker licensure within six years from the date of licensure issuance to apply for a new associate license, but requires passing the qualifying exam before the license can be issued. Supervision and experience hours acquired under an associate license expire six years from the date of initial associate license issuance, and expired supervision and experience hours do not apply toward future licensure.

Amends GS 90B-8 to allow granting reciprocal certificate or licenses without exam or by special exam and adds to the conditions that must be met for such issuance to require that the person be in good standing. Requires persons granted a temporary clinical social worker license to fulfill all requirements for licensure before the temporary license expires. Allows for issuance of a temporary license to a military or military spouse applicant.  

Amends GS 90B-9 to make all certificates and licenses, except temporary licenses, effective upon date of issuance and requires renewal on or before the expiration date (was, on or before the second June 30 thereafter). Amends the process for renewal of certificates and licenses. Requires verification of compliance with current requirements before the Board may reinstate a suspended certificate or license. Makes organizational changes by moving old subsection d into new GS 90B-9.1, Nonpracticing status. Adds that those on nonpracticing status are not subject to continuing education requirements and specifically prohibits those on nonpracticing status from referring to themselves as certified or licensed and prohibits engaging in social work practice that requires an active certificate or license. Requires proof that continuing education requirements are complete before reactivating a certificate or license.

Makes clarifying, conforming, and technical changes to GS 90B-10.

Amends GS 90B-11 to allow the Board to deny, suspend, or revoke an application, certificate, or license for conviction or entering of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, misrepresentation or fraud in dealing with the public, conduct otherwise relevant to fitness to practice social work, or any misdemeanor reflecting inability to practice social work with due regard to the health and safety of clients or patients (was, conviction or the entering of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a misdemeanor under GS Chapter 90B). Allows the Board to require applicants to submit criminal history record checks, including fingerprints, and substance abuse assessments. Adds that the Board may assess costs of disciplinary action against an applicant, certificate holder, or licensee who is in violation of the provisions of GS Chapter 90B or Board rules. 

Effective January 1, 2021. Qualification for the certificate of Certified Social Work Manager, as amended, applies only to applications received on or after January 1, 2021.

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