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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

March 9, 2020

This is an interim guidance on inquiries received by the Board relating to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Board will update this guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.

Supervision

Question: Can the face-to-face, direct, individual supervision with the primary supervisor be conducted virtually if work site is closed due to COVID-19?

Answer: Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), section 1387(b)(4), provides:

Trainees shall be provided with supervision for 10% of the total time worked each week. At least one hour per week shall be face-to-face, direct, individual supervision with the primary supervisor.”

If the state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing or mandate site closure where a trainee has been performing psychological functions under the immediate supervision of a primary supervisor, the one hour face-to-face, direct, individual supervision may be conducted via HIPAA-compliant video from March 16, 2020, until April 19, 2020. The trainee should clearly indicate this on the weekly log and the primary supervisor should verify this information.

Mode of Psychological Services Delivery

Question: Can trainees provide psychological services and accrue supervised professional experience (SPE) via telehealth?

Answer: Yes, trainees can provide psychological services via telehealth as long as they are properly supervised in doing so and the supervisor is adequately trained and experienced in providing services via telehealth. SPE can be accrued if they meet the requirements set forth in title 16 CCR section 1387.

Crisis

Question: Does the primary supervisor need to be physically present at the work site if it is closed due to COVID-19?

Answer: Pursuant to title 16 CCR section 1387(b)(6): “ The primary supervisor shall be employed by the same work setting as the trainee and be available to the trainee 100% of the time the trainee is accruing SPE. This availability may be in-person, by telephone, by pager or by other appropriate technology.” Additionally, pursuant to title 16 CCR section 1387(b)(7): “Primary supervisors shall ensure that a plan is in place to protect the patient/client in the event a patient/client crisis or emergency occurs during any time the supervisor is not physically present at the established site at which the trainee is working. The primary supervisor shall ensure that the trainee thoroughly understands the plan in the event of a crisis/emergency.”

Continuing Education

Question: My renewal is due on or before May 31, 2020, and I have not met the nine live-hour requirement. Can I take a webinar or online continuing education course?

Answer: The Board of Psychology would like to ensure its licensees are aware of their options regarding continuing education. Currently the Board requires 25% (9 hours) of the 36 hours of continuing education requirement for renewal, to be live or live-interactive. Live-interactive courses are completed via webinars. While the Board is confident that licensees are able to find webinars that meet this requirement, in the event that scheduled live or live-interactive courses are canceled, or licensees are unable to attend a live course due to local public health department advisories, any licensee whose license expires between March 16 and May 31, 2020, may complete their Continuing Education requirement via online non-live courses with evidence of the above.

Continuity of Care for your Clients

Question: What if I am in an impacted area and I cannot see clients?

Answer: The American Psychological Association has published guidance on how to prepare their practice for continuity of care including telepsychology guidance. For more information, go to https://www.apaservices.org/practice/news/covid19-psychology-services-protection?_ga=2.205742551.578362256.1583788934-615293404.1580338922

Please stay informed by visiting the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here and CDPH website here. Both websites are updated daily with the latest information and advice for the public.