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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Preliminary Draft Text


Regulatory review changes
Stage: NOIRA
11/18/15  9:08 AM

Part II
Requirements for Licensure

18VAC140-20-40. Requirements for licensure by examination as a licensed clinical social worker.

Every applicant for examination for licensure as a licensed clinical social worker shall:

1. Meet the education requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-49 and experience requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-50.

2. Submit a completed application to the board office within two years of completion of supervised experience to include:

a. Documentation, on the appropriate forms, of the successful completion of the supervised experience requirements of 18VAC140-20-50 along with documentation of the supervisor's out-of-state license where applicable. Applicants whose former supervisor is deceased, or whose whereabouts is unknown, shall submit to the board a notarized affidavit from the present chief executive officer of the agency, corporation or partnership in which the applicant was supervised. The affidavit shall specify dates of employment, job responsibilities, supervisor's name and last known address, and the total number of hours spent by the applicant with the supervisor in face-to-face supervision;

b. The application fee prescribed in 18VAC140-20-30;

c. Official transcript or documentation submitted from the appropriate institutions of higher education that verifies successful completion of educational requirements set forth in 18VAC140-20-49; and

d. Documentation of applicant's out-of-state licensure or certification where applicable.

3. Provide evidence of passage of the examination prescribed in 18VAC140-20-70. If the examination was not passed within five years preceding application for licensure, the applicant may qualify by documentation of providing clinical social work services in an exempt setting for at least 360 hours per year for two of the past five years.

18VAC140-20-50. Experience requirements for a licensed clinical social worker.

A. Supervised experience. Supervised post-master's degree experience in all settings obtained in Virginia without prior written board approval will not be accepted toward licensure.

1. Registration. An individual who proposes to obtain supervised post-master's degree experience in Virginia shall, prior to the onset of such supervision, or whenever there is an addition or change of supervised practice, supervisor, clinical social work services or location:

a. Register on a form provided by the board and completed by the supervisor and the supervised individual; and

b. Pay the registration of supervision fee set forth in 18VAC140-20-30.

2. Hours. The applicant shall have completed a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised post-master's degree experience in the delivery of clinical social work services. A minimum of one hour and a maximum of four hours of face-to-face supervision shall be provided per 40 hours of work experience for a total of at least 100 hours. No more than 50 of the 100 hours may be obtained in group supervision, nor shall there be more than six persons being supervised in a group unless approved in advance by the board. The board may consider alternatives to face-to-face supervision if the applicant can demonstrate an undue burden due to hardship, disability or geography.

a. Experience shall be acquired in no less than two nor more than four years.

b. Supervisees shall average no less than 15 hours per 40 hours of work experience in face-to-face client contact for a minimum of 1,380 hours. The remaining hours may be spent in ancillary services supporting the delivery of clinical social work services.

3. An individual who does not complete the supervision requirement after four years of supervised experience shall submit evidence to the board showing why the training should be allowed to continue.

B. Requirements for supervisors.

1. The supervisor shall hold an active, unrestricted license as a licensed clinical social worker in the jurisdiction in which the clinical services are being rendered with at least three years of post-licensure clinical social work experience. The board may consider supervisors with commensurate qualifications if the applicant can demonstrate an undue burden due to geography or disability.

2. The supervisor shall have received professional training in supervision, consisting of a three credit-hour graduate course in supervision or at least 14 hours of continuing education offered by a provider approved under 18VAC140-20-105. The graduate course or hours of continuing education in supervision shall be obtained by a supervisor within five years immediately preceding registration of supervision.

3. The supervisor shall not provide supervision for a member of his immediate family or provide supervision for anyone with whom he has a dual relationship.

4. The board may consider supervisors from jurisdictions outside of Virginia who provided clinical social work supervision if they have commensurate qualifications but were either (i) not licensed because their jurisdiction did not require licensure or (ii) were not designated as clinical social workers because the jurisdiction did not require such designation.

C. Responsibilities of supervisors. The supervisor shall:

1. Be responsible for the social work activities of the supervisee as set forth in this subsection once the supervisory arrangement is accepted;

2. Review and approve the diagnostic assessment and treatment plan of a representative sample of the clients assigned to the applicant during the course of supervision. The sample should be representative of the variables of gender, age, diagnosis, length of treatment and treatment method within the client population seen by the applicant. It is the applicant's responsibility to assure the representativeness of the sample that is presented to the supervisor;

3. Provide supervision only for those social work activities for which the supervisor has determined the applicant is competent to provide to clients;

4. Provide supervision only for those activities for which the supervisor is qualified by education, training and experience;

5. Evaluate the supervisee's knowledge and document minimal competencies in the areas of an identified theory base, application of a differential diagnosis, establishing and monitoring a treatment plan, development and appropriate use of the professional relationship, assessing the client for risk of imminent danger, and implementing a professional and ethical relationship with clients;

6. Be available to the applicant on a regularly scheduled basis for supervision; and

7. Maintain documentation, for five years post-supervision, of which clients were the subject of supervision.

D. Supervisees may not directly bill for services rendered or in any way represent themselves as independent, autonomous practitioners, or licensed clinical social workers. During the supervised experience, supervisees shall use their names and the initials of their degree, and the title "Supervisee in Social Work" in all written communications. Clients shall be informed in writing of the supervisee's status and the supervisor's name, professional address, and phone number.

Part V
Standards of Practice

18VAC140-20-150. Professional conduct.

A. The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board. Regardless of the delivery method, whether in person, by telephone or electronically, these standards shall apply to the practice of social work.

B. Persons licensed as social workers and clinical social workers shall:

1. Be able to justify all services rendered to or on behalf of clients as necessary for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

2. Provide for continuation of care when services must be interrupted or terminated.

3. Practice only within the competency areas for which they are qualified by education and experience.

4. Report to the board known or suspected violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of social work.

5. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates, or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services.

6. Ensure that clients are aware of fees and billing arrangements before rendering services.

7. Inform clients of potential risks and benefits of services and the limitations on confidentiality and ensure that clients have provided informed written consent to treatment.

8. Keep confidential their therapeutic relationships with clients and disclose client records to others only with written consent of the client, with the following exceptions: (i) when the client is a danger to self or others; or (ii) as required by law.

9. When advertising their services to the public, ensure that such advertising is neither fraudulent nor misleading.

10. As treatment requires and with the written consent of the client, collaborate with other health or mental health providers concurrently providing services to the client.

11. Refrain from undertaking any activity in which one's personal problems are likely to lead to inadequate or harmful services.

12. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of the nature and directions of loyalties and responsibilities involved.

C. In regard to client records, persons licensed by the board shall comply with provisions of ┬ž 32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia on health records privacy and shall:

1. Maintain written or electronic clinical records for each client to include identifying information and assessment that substantiates diagnosis and treatment plans. Each record shall include a diagnosis and treatment plan, progress notes for each case activity, information received from all collaborative contacts and the treatment implications of that information, and the termination process and summary.

2. Maintain client records securely, inform all employees of the requirements of confidentiality, and provide for the destruction of records that are no longer useful in a manner that ensures client confidentiality.

3. Disclose or release records to others only with clients' expressed written consent or that of their legally authorized representative or as mandated by law.

4. Ensure confidentiality in the usage of client records and clinical materials by obtaining informed consent from clients or their legally authorized representative before (i) videotaping, (ii) audio recording, (iii) permitting third-party observation, or (iv) using identifiable client records and clinical materials in teaching, writing or public presentations.

5. Maintain client records for a minimum of six years or as otherwise required by law from the date of termination of the therapeutic relationship with the following exceptions:

a. At minimum, records of a minor child shall be maintained for six years after attaining the age of majority or 10 years following termination, whichever comes later.

b. Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law to be maintained for a longer period of time.

c. Records that have been transferred to another mental health professional or have been given to the client or his legally authorized representative.

D. In regard to dual relationships, persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Not engage in a dual relationship with a client or a former client that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of harm to the client. (Examples of such a relationship include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business, bartering, or a close personal relationship with a client.) Social workers shall take appropriate professional precautions when a dual relationship cannot be avoided, such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs.

2. Not have any type of romantic relationship or sexual intimacies with a client or those included in collateral therapeutic services, and not provide services to those persons with whom they have had a romantic or sexual relationship. Social workers shall not engage in romantic relationships or sexual intimacies with a former client within a minimum of five years after terminating the professional relationship.  Social workers who engage in such a relationship after five years following termination shall have the responsibility to examine and document thoroughly that such a relationship did not have an exploitive nature, based on factors such as duration of therapy, amount of time since therapy, termination circumstances, client's personal history and mental status, adverse impact on the client. A client's consent to, initiation of or participation in sexual behavior or involvement with a social worker does not change the nature of the conduct nor lift the regulatory prohibition.

3. Not engage in any sexual relationship or establish a therapeutic relationship with a current supervisee or student. Social workers shall avoid any nonsexual dual relationship with a supervisee or student in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the supervisee or student, or the potential for interference with the supervisor's professional judgment.

4. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of the nature and directions of loyalties and responsibilities involved.

5. Not engage in a personal relationship with a former client in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm or if the former client continues to relate to the social worker in his professional capacity.