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LEGISLATIVE ADVISORY: AB 89 (LEVINE) PSYCHOLOGISTS: SUICIDE PREVENTION TRAINING

On September 1, 2017, Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 89 (Levine). This law adds section 2915.4 to the Business and Professions Code, which will become effective January 1, 2020.

SUMMARY OF CHANGES:

Applicants:
Effective January 1, 2020, an applicant for licensure as a psychologist with the Board of Psychology (Board) shall show completion of a minimum of six (6) hours of coursework or applied experience in suicide assessment and intervention.

Licensees:
At the time of his or her first renewal after January 1, 2020, a licensee will be required to attest on the renewal form to meeting a one-time, six (6) hour suicide risk assessment and intervention coursework or applied experience requirement. For a licensee with an expired or inactive license, the six (6) hour requirement must be completed prior to renewing or reactivating his or her license.

Implementation:
Licensees and applicants can meet this requirement in one of the following ways:

  • Obtained as part of his or her qualifying graduate degree program.
    •  To satisfy this requirement, an applicant shall submit to the board a written certification from the registrar or training director of the educational institution or program from which the applicant graduated stating that the coursework required by this section is included within the institution's curriculum required for graduation at the time the applicant graduated, or within the coursework that was completed by the applicant.
      Upon request, a licensee may also be required to provide the same documentation.
  • Obtained as part of his or her applied experience. Applied experience can be met in any of the following settings: practicum, internship, or formal postdoctoral placement that meets the requirement of Section 2911, or other qualifying supervised professional experience.
    • To satisfy this requirement, an applicant/licensee shall submit to the board a written certification from the director of training for the program or primary supervisor where the qualifying experience has occurred stating that the training required by this section was included within the applied experience. Upon request, a licensee may also be required to provide the same documentation.
  • Obtained by taking any approved, structured, sequenced learning activity, whether conducted in-person or online. The continuing education (CE) course must be approved by organizations approved by the Board:
    • American Psychological Association (APA),
    • California Psychological Association (CPA),
    • Continuing Medical Education courses that are specifically applicable and pertinent to the practice of psychology, and are accredited by the California Medical Association (CMA) or Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)
    • American Medical Association (AMA)
    • Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi)
  • To satisfy this requirement, an applicant shall submit to the board a CE certificate of completion.
    Upon request, a licensee may also be required to provide the same documentation.

Although licensees must attest to compliance with the six (6) hour requirement upon his or her first renewal after January 1, 2020, if satisfying the requirement by taking a qualifying CE course, the course may be taken at any time prior to the application for that renewal, and the course may be applied to the continuing education requirements in the renewal cycle during which the course was actually taken.

For example, if a license is due to expire March 31, 2018, and the licensee takes a qualifying course in 2017, the licensee can apply the six (6) hours to the continuing education requirements for his or her 2018 renewal.  He or she can then use the same course to attest to meeting the suicide risk assessment requirement for his or her 2020 renewal (but without again counting the hours towards the 36-hour requirement).

New Statutory Language