A petition has been submitted to the North Carolina Psychology Board (NCPB) to conduct rulemaking to amend Section 21 N.C.A.C. 54.2008(h) to eliminate career-long supervision of master's-level psychologists so that Licensed Psychological Associates (LPAs) can hold an independent and unrestricted license after three (3) years. In substance, supervision would be required for a minimum of three (3) calendar years consisting of a minimum of 4,500 hours of post-licensure supervision.
The petitioners (listed below), have been working on this effort and brought forth this action as follows:
- There are no reliable empirical data that indicate an increased risk of harm to patients/clients by allowing independent LPA practice after three years of supervision;
- There are no reliable empirical data that indicate improvement in patient/client outcomes from career-long supervision;
- Career-long supervision imposes an unjustifiable and inequitable economic burden on LPAs;
- Career-long supervision unfairly disqualifies LPAs from receiving payment for services from many insurers and governmental entities;
- Career-long supervision negatively impacts LPA employability in contrast to other licensed master's-level providers of mental health services;
- Career-long supervision decreases the availability of LPAs to serve the public (particularly in rural and non-urban areas); and
- The current supervision requirement has contributed to the decline of the psychology discipline in North Carolina relative to other licensed mental health care disciplines
The effect on existing practices would be to make psychological services more readily available to the public (particularly in rural and non-urban areas), less expensive, more readily covered by insurance and governmental programs; and would reduce operational costs to LPAs; all without sacrificing patient/client outcomes.
The petition for rule change is as follows:
Proposed Amended Rule 21 NCAC 54.2008(h)
After a minimum of 3 calendar years consisting of at least 4500 hours of post-licensure supervised practice, no further supervision is required provided that a Psychological Associate shall:
- Make application on an application form provided by the Board;
- Document that all performance ratings for the preceding 3 years and 4500 hours of post-licensure supervised practice have been average or above average;
- Have received at least one calendar year of supervision from the most recent supervisor; and
- Have the recommendation of the most recent supervisor that no further supervision be required.
The success of this action will benefit psychologists practicing in North Carolina and the provision of services for those in need, including, the ability to provide Telehealth services and volunteer services, and be eligible for accreditation with insurance panels - among other important issues currently curtailed or prohibited as a matter of the restricted license associated with Licensed Psychological Associates.
The petitioners have retained Everett Gaskins Hancock LLP, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, for legal representation in this matter. We (the petitioners) are advised that the NCPB has the authority to make this change within the provisions of the North Carolina Psychology Practice Act. Thus far, the petitioners have overseen the research necessary to support this action, the construction of the petition for the rule change, affidavits preparation from the six petitioners, and the delivery of the petition to the NCPB by our attorneys. Should the NCPB decline this request, we are prepared to move forward through the legal system.
The petitioners have worked to provide for a streamlined concerted plea focused solely on independent licensure. Should this action require the petitioners to take the next step through the legal system, we will require additional funding. The North Carolina Association of Professional Psychologists (NCAPP) is fully supporting this initiative. NCAPP has been revitalized with new leadership and reorganized in order to provide support for all psychologists practicing in North Carolina, and holds as a primary focus the fair and equitable treatment and representation of master’s level psychologists. NCAPP offers fee based membership to LPAs to provide advocacy and representation, as well as support for this petition. As an LPA, you are invited to become a member of NCAPP. We also invite you to offer support through donation options (on this website via PayPal) independent of membership.
Janet Heuring, MA, LCAS, LPA, HSP-PA, CCTP
Carol E. Williams, MA, LPA, BCBA
Tara Luellen, MA, LPA, HSP-PA
Flora Dunbar, MA, LPC, LPA
Les Brinson, PhD, LP, HSP-P
Vinston J. Goldman, PhD, LP, HSP-P
Your help is greatly appreciated,