STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1422

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: H.B. No. 1300

H.D. 2

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-Second State Legislature

Regular Session of 2023

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committees on Health and Human Services and Commerce and Consumer Protection, to which was referred H.B. No. 1300, H.D. 2, entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO MENTAL HEALTH,"

 

beg leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to:

 

(1) Establish provisional or associate-level licensure requirements for marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, and psychologists and authorize insurance reimbursements in certain circumstances;

 

(2) Allow psychologist license applicants to sit for the licensing examination before completing supervised experience requirements;

 

(3) Allow the Board of Psychology to grant licensure waivers in certain circumstances for psychologists;

 

(4) Authorize insurance reimbursements for services provided by a supervised social work intern in certain circumstances; and

 

(5) Appropriate funds to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to:

 

(A) Establish, recruit, and hire one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) office assistant V position to process new license applications; and

 

(B) Make appropriate updates to the Professional and Vocational Licensing Division's internal databases to create new license types established by this measure.

 

Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Public Safety; Department of Health; State Council on Mental Health; The Hawaiian Islands Association for Marriage and Family Therapy; Hawaii Psychological Association; Kaliko Counseling Services, LLC; Elemental Guidance, LLC; Erik E. Acuna, LCSW LLC; Root2Rise Counseling Center; Alohacare; Kauhale Healing, LLC; Xplor Counseling, LLC; Alan R. Spector, LCSW Psychotherapy; Talk It Out, LLC; Catholic Charities Hawaii; Anuhea St. Laurent - Marriage and Family Therapy, LLC; National Association of Social Workers, Hawaii Chapter; Hawaii Counselors Association; Center for Healing & Transformation, LLC; and fifty-six individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Board of Psychology, and Hawaii Medical Service Association.

 

Your Committees find that there is a shortage of mental health professionals throughout the State, especially in rural areas. A significant cause of this shortage is that new mental health professionals seeking to complete their required hours of supervised practice can encounter tremendous financial difficulty due to Hawaii's high cost of living and the fact that their services are not eligible for insurance reimbursement. This measure would reduce the financial hardship for early career mental health providers and those seeking licensure in the field of mental health by allowing for reimbursement under certain conditions, thus helping to reduce the State's shortage of qualified mental health professionals.

 

Your Committees acknowledge the concerns raised in testimony that this measure authorizes a holder of a doctoral degree in clinical, counseling, and school psychology to sit for the Examination for Professional Practice required for licensure prior to meeting pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral experience requirements. Your Committees note that internship experience and degree completion are essential to successfully passing the exam, which primarily tests the theoretical knowledge psychologists learn in their education program. Furthermore, your Committees also note that certain amendments made by this measure are redundant and unnecessary. Therefore, amendments to this measure are necessary to address these concerns.

 

Accordingly, your Committees have amended this measure by:

 

(1) Deleting language that would have authorized a holder of a doctoral degree in clinical, counseling, and school psychology to sit for the Examination for Professional Practice required for licensure prior to meeting pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral experience requirements and inserting language requiring an applicant for licensure as a psychologist to have a doctoral degree, complete one year of post-doctoral supervised experience in psychology, and complete either an approved internship or one year of supervised experience in an internship or residency program to be eligible to take the Examination for Professional Practice;

 

(2) Deleting redundant language that would have authorized the Board of Psychology to grant waivers or extensions to licensees who are unable to comply with continuing education requirements;

 

(3) Inserting an effective date of June 30, 2050, to encourage further discussion;

 

(4) Amending section 1 to reflect its amended purpose; and

 

(5) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.

 

Your Committees note that although the appropriations in this measure are blank, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs requests an appropriation in the amount of $67,876 to establish, recruit, and hire one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) office assistant V position to process new license applications, and $75,000 to make appropriate updates to the Professional and Vocational Licensing Division's internal databases to create new license types established by this measure. Should your Committee on Ways and Means choose to deliberate on this measure, your Committees respectfully request it consider inserting these requested amounts.

 

As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Health and Human Services and Commerce and Consumer Protection that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1300, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1300, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Health and Human Services and Commerce and Consumer Protection,

 

________________________________

JARRETT KEOHOKALOLE, Chair

 

________________________________

JOY A. SAN BUENAVENTURA, Chair