Greetings Member Boards!
I was really excited to put out a general update this week to let everyone know what was going on with AASCB but there are more pressing topics to discuss at this time. I have been in contact with many national counseling organizations as well as many of our state licensure boards. Our member boards have been receiving increased calls about various topics but there are some themes. To assist and support our Member Boards during this extraordinary time, I developed a list of common questions our Member Boards are receiving and some possible short and long term solutions. AASCB will also provide a link to the resource pages from all of the national counseling organizations. Here are some of the common questions:
1. Tele-Counseling being pushed in states but certain rules/laws conflict
Short-Term Solutions: Member Boards are encouraged to work with their Governor to develop an executive order temporarily easing restrictions on this practice. Members Boards may elect to adhere to their current laws/rules, but should recognize that this may cause more uncertainty for licensees, interns and students in the short-term. In Ohio, we have a couple of restrictive items in rule including, a) not permitting tele-supervision for internship students and b) requiring a face-to-face meeting prior to beginning tele-counseling sessions. We will be altering these rules to make them less restrictive through executive order for 120 days.
Long-Term Solutions: AASCB is establishing a committee to develop legislative language that each state could adopt for this practice. The goal is to have this language developed by the August 2020 Summit to be held in Denver, Colorado.
2. Licensees not being able to renew because of lack of CE availability, especially for states that require in-person CE’s
Short-Term Solution: Member Boards may work with their Governor or legislature to allow an extended renewal period for those struggling to meet the CE requirements. Member Boards may also work with their Governor’s office to revise the current language to temporarily allow online CE’s for states which require face-to-face CE’s.
Long-Term Solution: Consider working with your board to change these standards to allow all CE’s online. Ohio moved to this over a year ago and it does not appear to be a public protection concern.
3. Will Boards be flexible with internship requirements because universities are closing?
Short-Term Solutions: CACREP is instructing universities that they have to ensure all standards are met for graduating students. Boards can decide on a case by case basis or more broadly to allow internship hour exceptions if that is in their rules with support from the governor’s office and in consultation with the board attorney.
Long-Term Solution: This would only need to change in times of national crisis or state crisis and can most likely be handled best in case by case short-term solutions.
Ultimately, Boards are not required (unless instructed by executive order) to change rules during times of crisis. I do think it is a matter of public protection for us to consider some of these reasonable changes as long as they are done in consultation with state offices and a board attorney. At AASCB, we do want to hear from more of our member boards if there are any specific challenges or pressures that you are facing during this challenging time. We might not have answers; however, we can tap into our broad membership base to get suggestions from other boards. In drafting this email, I reached out to the states involved with our Regulatory Excellence Committee and received many responses from state boards. I want to continue using AASCB to facilitate those relationships between state boards. We as states are not alone and we do not have to act alone in uncertain times. I encourage any state that is having difficulties to reach out to Jolie Long, our Executive Director, and she can work with our board and other states for solutions. Thank you all for the work that you’re doing in your state especially now in a time of crisis. Please also see the links attached below for information from the national counseling organizations.
Ryan Pickut, President of AASCB
American Counseling Association (ACA) https://www.counseling.org/
American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) https://www.amhca.org/blogs/joel-miller/2020/03/12/the-coronavirus-and-covid19-resources-on-what-you
Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) https://acesonline.net/
Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) https://www.crccertification.com/
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) https://www.cacrep.org/for-programs/updates-on-covid-19/
National Board for Certified Counselor (NBCC) https://www.nbcc.org/covid-19