Bill Text - HB1508 (2012)

Relative to procedures of the board of mental health practice.

Revision: Dec. 14, 2011, midnight






AN ACT relative to procedures of the board of mental health practice.

SPONSORS: Rep. C. McGuire, Merr 8; Rep. Hinch, Hills 19; Rep. P. Schmidt, Straf 4; Sen. Merrill, Dist 21

COMMITTEE: Executive Departments and Administration


This bill makes various changes to the regulation of mental health practitioners including the requirements of the board of mental health practice relating to investigation and hearings concerning disciplinary proceedings, fees for late renewals of licensure, and the form of complaints against licensees.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT relative to procedures of the board of mental health practice.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Mental Health Practice; Client Bill of Rights. Amend RSA 330-A:15 to read as follows:

330-A:15 Mental Health Client Bill of Rights. The board shall develop a model statement of the patient’s mental health rights based on the code of ethics of each licensed professional association and distribute it to all practitioners licensed under this chapter. A copy of the patient’s mental health rights shall be posted in a prominent location in the office of the mental health practitioner and provided to each client before the initiation of care except for emergencies. Reasonable accommodations shall be made for those clients who cannot read or have communication impairments and those who do not read or speak English.

2 Disciplinary Proceedings; Complaints. Amend RSA 330-A:27, I(c) to read as follows:

(c) Upon written complaint [of any person] as provided in RSA 330-A:28, IX which charges that a person licensed under this chapter has committed misconduct under paragraph II and which specifies the grounds for such charges.

3 New Paragraph; Disciplinary Proceedings; Malpractice. Amend RSA 330-A:27 by inserting after paragraph II the following new paragraph:

II-a. A disciplinary proceeding undertaken pursuant to paragraph I shall determine the misconduct according to the law, rule, or ethical requirements applicable at the time of the alleged misconduct.

4 Investigation; Court Proceedings. Amend RSA 330-A:28, VII to read as follows:

VII.(a) Except for good cause shown, upon its determination that a formal or informal investigation shall be conducted, the board shall mail a copy of a complaint to any licensee who is the subject of the complaint, and require the licensee to provide a detailed and good faith written response to allegations identified by the board. The licensee shall provide complete copies of the licensee’s office records concerning any client identified in the complaint. The licensee shall respond to such request within a reasonable time period of not less than 30 days, as the board shall specify in its written request. The detailed complaint and licensee’s response shall be exempt from disclosure under RSA 91-A unless the licensee successfully petitions the board to make them available pursuant to RSA 91-A:4.

(b) The provisions of subparagraph (a) shall be suspended during any period that the matter related to the parties in interest is subject to proceedings in a court having jurisdiction until the termination of such court proceedings.

5 Complaints; Requirements; Reports of Investigation. Amend RSA 330-A:28, VIII to read as follows:

VIII. [Any] A person may file a written complaint as described in paragraph IX with the board which charges that a person licensed under this chapter has committed misconduct. The board may dismiss complaints when the undisputed allegations do not warrant disciplinary actions and may settle complaints informally with the consent of the licensee. Some or all of the allegations in a complaint may be consolidated with another complaint or with issues which the board chooses to investigate or hear on its own motion. If an investigation of a complaint results in an offer of settlement by the licensee, the board may settle the allegations against the licensee without the consent of a complainant, provided that the complainant is given an opportunity to comment on the terms of the proposed settlement. Following the settlement or other negotiated termination of proceedings, the board shall provide the licensee with the report of the investigation.

IX. The board shall only accept a complaint if the complaint:

(a) Contains: (1) a brief description of the matter that gave rise to the complaint; (2) a detailed factual description of the licensee’s conduct; (3) the relevant documents that illustrate the conduct of the licensee, or, if the complainant is unable to provide such documents, an explanation as to why the complainant is unable to do so; and (4) whatever proof is to be provided, including the name and addresses of witnesses to establish a violation of this chapter.

(b) Is filed by a person who is directly affected by the conduct complained of or who was present when the conduct complained of occurred, and contains a statement establishing these facts.

(c) Is typed or in legible handwriting and signed by the complainant. If the complainant uses a form prepared by the board, the following language, or language that is substantially equivalent, shall appear above the complainant’s signature: “I hereby swear or affirm under the pains and penalties of perjury that the information contained in this complaint is true to the best of my knowledge.”

X. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, the board shall not consider a complaint against a judicially-appointed psychotherapist arising from a court-ordered evaluation, treatment, psychotherapy, or appointment as a guardian ad litem filed by any person alleging unprofessional conduct unless the originating court has determined there is a substantial basis to refer a complaint for consideration by the board.

6 Fees; Late Renewal Added. Amend RSA 330-A:12 to read as follows:

330-A:12 Fees. The board shall establish fees pursuant to RSA 541-A for review of applicants for licensure; supervisory agreements; applications for licensed psychologist, pastoral psychotherapist, independent clinical social worker, clinical mental health counselor, and marriage and family therapist; renewal of license; renewal of dual license; late renewal of licensure; reinstatement of license; inactive license status; reactivation of an inactive license; examination of applicants; transcribing and transferring records; and other services, including investigations and hearings conducted under this chapter.

7 Late Renewal Fee. Amend RSA 330-A:31, II to read as follows:

II. If a license is not renewed it may be reinstated not later than 6 months after the date of license expiration upon payment of the late renewal fee and compliance with rules adopted by the board. A license may be placed on inactive status pursuant to rules adopted by the board.

8 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2013.