August 11, 2014
Are you confused about the different Laws and Rules courses?  3-Hours versus 8-Hours?  Online versus Live? This commentary is intended to help clarify the current expectations associated with the relevant rules.

Rule 64B4-3.0035 requires that applicants for licensure must demonstrate knowledge of the laws and rules for licensure by attending an eight (8) hour course (live or online) that includes subject areas including:

“64B4-3.0035  . . .
(a) Chapter 456, Part II, F.S., (Regulation of Professions and Occupations, General Provisions)

(b) Chapter 90.503, (Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege)

(c) Chapter 394, F.S., (Part I Florida Mental Health Act)

(d) Chapter 397, F.S., (Substance Abuse Services)

(e) Chapters 415 and 39, F.S., (Protection from Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation)

(f) Chapter 491, F.S., (Clinical, Counseling and Psychotherapy Services) and,

(g) Chapter 64B4, F.A.C., (Rules of the Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling).  The rule states how the applicant is to document completion of the course.”

The Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling is considering is considering some changes and/or clarifications to the current rule.

First, a requirement is being considered that online Laws & Rules courses require participants to pass an exam to demonstrate their knowledge of the laws and rules.  Draft language referring to a passing score was set at 80% and a requirement that a Florida attorney be available during the course was removed.  Further revisions to the language for this change to 64B4-3.0035 rule are in the hands of the Board’s Counsel and will likely be addressed at the October Board meeting in Tampa.

Secondly, it has been my long-time recommendation that Registered Interns complete the 8-hour Laws and Rules course early in their internship rather than later.  The Board is currently exploring whether or not Registered Interns may be required to complete the course during their internship rather than at the end.

Finally, Rule 64B4-6.001 Renewal of Active License (4) states that completion of the 3-hour Renewal Laws and Rules course is required of licensees every third biennium.  That means that we currently licensed mental health professionals have to first complete the course by March 31, 2019.  If we take a Renewal Laws & Rules course any time before that date, we would need to repeat the course 6 years after the date of that course.

- Catherine L. Waltz, PhD, is an adjunct professor in the graduate program of the School of Social Work, Barry University.  She is a continuing education provider in the state of Florida providing courses on professional ethics, laws and rules, supervision, mental health error prevention:  http://drwaltz.corecommerce.com/Florida-Laws-Rules-p21.html  You can contact her at the Contact Us link above.

The educational commentaries provided by Dr. Waltz do not constitute a legal opinion.  If legal advice is needed, it is recommended that contact be made with an attorney qualified in the jurisdiction in which you practice or is applicable to your case.  We recommend that you use your knowledge of the law and your code of ethics in conjunction with this information (and any other) when deciding upon a course of action.

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I love teaching. I love the sharing of knowledge and challenges between the students and me. One of my strongest values which underlies all that I do is to promote a positive image for the profession and help new social workers develop professionally. Teaching social work courses is my newest way of doing that.

Classroom discussions are marvelous and sometimes challenging when a student raises a question I have never considered before. You have to be on your toes. But, I don’t have to have all of the answers. Thank goodness! I am willing to read about the question and come back with my thoughts at a later time.

While I don’t regret my current teaching situation, it was hard to anticipate the work that I would have to do. I have 77 students. Each of them are unique individuals with their strengths and weaknesses. And, each of them have assignments. . . assignments that I gave them and now I have to grade. I am learning more about each of them by seeing how they write.

I am also learning more about me as I initially struggled to be consistent in my feedback. This weekend I discovered that I am just grading the Draft of an MSE each of them submitted last week. Many times I didn’t know which student did which paper. I think that is a good thing. Because I had developed my focus and skills in just looking at what was correct and adequately reported or missing and/or inadequately addressed. So that was a trial over which I have some mastery.

The tribulations come with the measures of knowledge that each of my 77 students have to do and I have to grade. Draft Mental Status Exam, diagnosing 16 cases (2 per week for 6 weeks – which was by syllabus supposed to be 2 cases each of 8 weeks), Mid-Term Exam (starting tomorrow), and Final MSE followed by Final Exam.

“What was I thinking? !” Well, to be fair, neither I nor the school knew how many students I would end up having in the 4 sections. The school needed 2 more sections taught, it was summertime, I like teaching, so here I am.

It means a lot to me to see the student’s development over the past 5 weeks. Together we have all come a long way. I admit, too, I really like it when the students seem to like me. And, I do so very much like my students. They are going to be wonderful additions to social work. Their dedication to learning is surely going to be generalized to their future practice. I am so very grateful to be a part of their paths to the social work profession.

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Registered Intern’s Professional Identity and Compliance – A new twist!

May 13, 2014

Really! There is no legal acronym for registered interns use.  I swear it is true. Last month I wrote about the increasing use of an illegal acronym by registered interns which I had noticed in a group on LinkedIn.  Within two days of that article being published in a variety of settings I received a […]

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There is no such thing as RCSWI, RMHCI, RMFTI !

April 28, 2014

There is no legal acronym for Registered Interns under F. S. 491 in the State of Florida. Registered Interns must spell out their registration status as noted in our Rules Chapter 64B4 – 5.005(j) Failure of a registered intern to use the words “registered intern” on all promotional materials, including cards, brochures, stationery, advertisements, and […]

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President Obama Signs the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014

April 3, 2014

On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. This new law prevents a scheduled payment reduction for physicians and other practitioners who treat Medicare patients from taking effect on April 1, 2014. This new law maintains the 0.5 percent update for such services that applied from January 1, 2014 through March […]

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New CE Requirement for Renewal Laws & Rules course – deadline March 15, 2019

April 2, 2014

I just learned that the correct deadline date for the Renewal Laws & Rules course we licensed mental health professionals are required to take is March 15. 2019.  I apologize for any inconvenience this error may have caused my training participants. New CE Requirement for Licensure Renewals Within the 30 required renewal CE’s, you must […]

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MHCounselor National Exam Debate – Retake the exam? Really?

December 24, 2013

I heard in one of my workshops recently that there is talk online that Florida LMHCs will be required to re-take (or take) the national NCMHCE exam.  After the workshop, I began to inquire about the rumor. I learned of no requirement from the State of Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family […]

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Legal Self Defense for Mental Health Practitioners

October 11, 2013

Legal Self Defense for Mental Health Practitioners Robert Henley Woody, PhD, JD Published by Springer in 2012 ISBN: 978-0-8261-9565-4 eBook ISBN: 978-0-8261-9565-1 This book has been a great resource for me and my continuing education program attendees.  So, I thought that I would share a review and description of its key features for all of you […]

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Locked In

August 16, 2013

Since the 1980s when financial support for community mental health was drastically cut and eventually eliminated our communities and our seriously mentally ill have been literally  “left out in the cold” or locked in.  Back when we lived in another state where winters were cold the most likely intervention that my husband had to use […]

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Do we HAVE to use the DSM-5?

June 12, 2013

This is a follow-up to my previous blog post by a participant in our online LinkedIn group (Mental Health and Clinical Social Work Forum).  The following questions were posed: “I am wondering what you suggest for those of us who bill insurance companies. Won’t they require the new dx codes?” (Crystal M)  “Won’t they accept […]

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