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Senate Bill 2176

Senate Bill sb2176

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176

    By Senator Fasano





    11-717-04                                           See HB 707

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to regulation of faith-based

  3         counseling; providing definitions; requiring

  4         registration of faith-based counselors;

  5         specifying nonapplication of certain licensing

  6         provisions to certain faith-based counselors

  7         under certain circumstances; providing

  8         registration procedures and requirements;

  9         providing for certification by examination;

10         providing procedures; providing for a fee;

11         providing for registration or certification by

12         endorsement; providing criteria and

13         requirements; providing for renewal of

14         registrations or certificates; providing for a

15         fee; providing criteria and requirements;

16         providing for inactive status; providing

17         requirements and criteria for reactivation of

18         certification; providing fees; providing

19         continuing education requirements; providing

20         procedures and criteria; providing for certain

21         status as a provider; providing for a fee;

22         authorizing the Department of Health to adopt

23         rules; providing for disciplinary actions for

24         certain activities; providing for

25         confidentiality of certain information;

26         providing exceptions; requiring keeping and

27         maintaining certain records; providing

28         requirements for display of certificates and

29         use of professional titles on certain

30         materials; requiring a report to the

31         department; providing an effective date.

                                  1

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

 2  

 3         Section 1.  (1)  DEFINITIONS.--For purposes of this

 4  section:

 5         (a)  "Department" means the Department of Health.

 6         (b)  "Faith-based counseling" means ministry to

 7  individuals, families, couples, groups, organizations, and the

 8  general public involving the application of principles and

 9  procedures of counseling to assess and treat intrapersonal and

10  interpersonal problems and other dysfunctional behavior of a

11  social and spiritual nature and to assist in the overall

12  development and healing process of those served.

13         (c)  "Faith-based counselor" means a person who

14  provides faith-based counseling.

15         (d)  "Qualified association" means an association that

16  is certified by a statewide faith-based counseling

17  organization in this state which was in existence on January

18  1, 2004, and which publishes, and requires compliance with,

19  its standards and files copies of such standards with the

20  department as provided in subparagraph (2)(b)1.

21         (2)  REGISTRATION.--

22         (a)  A faith-based counselor may not practice, and a

23  person may not commence his or her faith-based counselor

24  professional practicum, internship, or field experience, in

25  this state unless he or she has first registered with and been

26  certified by a qualified association as provided in this

27  section.

28         (b)  The licensing provisions of chapter 491, Florida

29  Statutes, do not apply to a faith-based counselor who:

30         1.  Is certified by a statewide faith-based counseling

31  organization in this state which was in existence on January

                                  2

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1  1, 2004, and which publishes and requires compliance with the

 2  organization's standards and files copies of such standards

 3  with the department. Such standards shall be in substantial

 4  compliance with chapter 491, Florida Statutes, and the rules

 5  and minimum standards adopted under that chapter, with the

 6  exception of those standards of a curricular or religious

 7  nature. After the department has determined that the standards

 8  for faith-based counselors are in substantial compliance with

 9  minimum standards that professionals licensed under chapter

10  491, Florida Statutes, are required to meet, the standards

11  need not be resubmitted to the department unless a change in

12  the standards occurs. If the organization adopts any changes

13  to the standards, the organization shall provide such changes

14  to the department within 10 days after their adoption.

15         2.  Has been issued a certificate of registration by

16  the qualified association.

17         (c)  The qualified association shall register as a

18  faith-based counselor intern an applicant who the qualified

19  association verifies has:

20         1.  Completed the application form and remitted a

21  nonrefundable application fee as set by the qualified

22  association, such fee not to exceed $200.

23         2.  Completed the minimum education requirements of

24  obtaining a master's degree in faith-based counseling or a

25  related field from an accredited college or a faith-based

26  college and submitted an acceptable supervision plan, working

27  under a registered or certificated faith-based counselor for

28  meeting any practicum, internship, or field work required for

29  registration or certification that may not have been satisfied

30  in his or her graduate program.

31  

                                  3

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1         3.  Identified a qualified faith-based counselor to

 2  supervise his or her practicum, internship, or field

 3  experience.

 4         (d)  Upon verification that all requirements for

 5  registration have been met, the qualified association shall

 6  issue to an applicant, without charge, a certificate of

 7  registration valid for 1 year. An applicant for certification

 8  must remain under supervision until he or she receives his or

 9  her certificate of registration from the qualified

10  association.

11         (e)  Faith-based counselors who have met the minimum

12  education requirements and commenced the minimum experience

13  requirements as set out in the qualified association's

14  published standards shall register with the qualified

15  association before July 1, 2004. Faith-based counselors who

16  fail to comply with this paragraph shall not be granted a

17  certificate of registration, and any time spent by the person

18  completing the experience requirement prior to registration as

19  an intern shall not count toward completion of such

20  requirement.

21         (3)  CERTIFICATION BY EXAMINATION.--

22         (a)  Upon verification of documentation and payment of

23  a nonrefundable application fee as set by the qualified

24  association, such fee not to exceed $200, plus the actual

25  per-applicant cost to the qualified association or its

26  registration agent for purchase of the examination from the

27  state, a professional licensure agency, or a similar national

28  professional organization, the qualified association shall

29  issue a certificate of registration as a clinical faith-based

30  counselor to an applicant who the qualified association

31  certifies has:

                                  4

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1         1.  Completed the application form and remitted a

 2  nonrefundable application fee as set by the qualified

 3  association, such fee not to exceed $200.

 4         2.  Received the minimum of a master's degree in

 5  faith-based counseling, or a closely related field, from a

 6  regionally accredited college or has received the minimum of a

 7  master's degree in faith-based counseling from a faith-based

 8  theological seminary which the qualified association has

 9  determined was, at the time the applicant graduated, a program

10  equivalent to programs approved by the Council on Faith-Based

11  Counseling Education. An applicant who graduated from a

12  university or college program outside the United States or

13  Canada must present documentation of the equivalency

14  determination from the council in order to qualify to sit for

15  the examination. The master's level graduate program must have

16  included direct clinical pastoral or faith-based patient or

17  client counseling services and the coursework, casework, and

18  experience as required by the qualified association's

19  published standards.

20         3.  Passed a theory and practice examination provided

21  by the qualified association for this purpose.

22         4.  Demonstrated, in a manner designated by the

23  qualified association's published standards, knowledge of the

24  laws and rules governing the practice of clinical faith-based

25  counseling work.

26         5.  Completed a minimum of 3 semester hours or 4

27  quarter hours of graduate-level coursework as required by the

28  qualified association's published standards.

29         6.  Completed the equivalent, as determined by the

30  qualified association, of at least 1,000 hours of

31  university-sponsored or seminary-supervised clinical

                                  5

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1  practicum, internship, or field experience as required by the

 2  standards of the council. This experience may not be used to

 3  satisfy the postmaster's clinical experience requirement.

 4         (4)  CERTIFICATION BY ENDORSEMENT.--The qualified

 5  association shall issue a certificate of registration to a

 6  person in a profession to which this section applies who, upon

 7  applying to the qualified association and remitting the

 8  appropriate fee, demonstrates to the qualified association

 9  that he or she:

10         (a)  Has knowledge of the laws and rules governing the

11  practice of clinical faith-based counseling.

12         (b)  Holds an active valid license to practice and has

13  actively practiced the profession for which licensure is

14  applied in another state for 3 of the last 5 years immediately

15  preceding his or her application for registration with the

16  qualified association.

17         (c)  Meets the educational requirements of this section

18  for the profession for which registration is applied.

19         (d)  Has passed a substantially equivalent examination

20  in another state or has passed the registration examination in

21  this state in the profession for which the applicant seeks

22  certification.

23         (e)  Holds a certificate in good standing, is not under

24  investigation for an act that would constitute a violation of

25  this section, and has not been found to have committed any act

26  that would constitute a violation of this section.

27         (5)  RENEWAL OF REGISTRATION OR CERTIFICATION.--

28         (a)  The qualified association shall prescribe by rule

29  a method for the biennial renewal of registration or

30  certification at a fee set by rule, not to exceed $250.

31  

                                  6

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1         (b)  Each applicant for renewal shall present

 2  satisfactory evidence that, in the period since the

 3  registration or certificate was issued, the applicant has

 4  completed continuing education requirements set by rule of the

 5  qualified association. Not more than 25 classroom hours of

 6  continuing education per year shall be required.

 7         (c)  The qualified association shall prescribe by rule

 8  a method for the biennial renewal of an intern registration at

 9  a fee set by rule, not to exceed $100.

10         (6)  INACTIVE STATUS; REACTIVATION OF CERTIFICATION;

11  FEES.--

12         (a)  Upon application to the qualified association and

13  payment of a $50 fee, a registered faith-based counselor may

14  be placed on inactive status.

15         1.  An inactive certificate may be renewed biennially

16  for $50.

17         2.  An inactive certificate may be reactivated by

18  submitting an application to the qualified association,

19  completing the continuing education requirements, complying

20  with any background investigation required, complying with

21  other requirements prescribed by the qualified association,

22  and paying a $50 reactivation fee plus the current biennial

23  renewal fee at the time of reactivation.

24         (b)  The qualified association may adopt rules relating

25  to inactive certificates and the reactivation of certificates.

26         (7)  CONTINUING EDUCATION AND LAWS AND RULES COURSES;

27  APPROVAL OF PROVIDERS, PROGRAMS, AND COURSES; PROOF OF

28  COMPLETION.--

29         (a)  Faith-based continuing education providers,

30  programs, and courses and laws and rules courses and their

31  

                                  7

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1  providers and programs shall be approved by the qualified

 2  association.

 3         (b)  The qualified association may set a fee, not to

 4  exceed $200, for each applicant that applies for or renews

 5  provider status.

 6         (c)  Proof of completion of the required number of

 7  hours of continuing education and completion of the laws and

 8  rules course shall be submitted to the qualified association

 9  in the manner and time specified by rule and on forms provided

10  by the qualified association.

11         (d)  The department or the qualified association shall

12  adopt rules and guidelines to administer and enforce the

13  provisions of this subsection.

14         (8)  DISCIPLINE.--

15         (a)  The following acts constitute grounds for denial

16  of certification or disciplinary action, as specified in

17  section 456.072(2), Florida Statutes:

18         1.  Attempting to obtain, obtaining, or renewing a

19  registration or certification under this section by bribery or

20  fraudulent misrepresentation or through an error of the

21  qualified association or the department.

22         2.  Having a registration or certification to practice

23  a comparable profession revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted

24  against, including the denial of certification or licensure by

25  another state, territory, or country.

26         3.  Being convicted or found guilty of, regardless of

27  adjudication, or having entered a plea of nolo contendere to,

28  a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the

29  practice of his or her profession or the ability to practice

30  his or her profession. However, in the case of a plea of nolo

31  contendere, the qualified association shall allow the person

                                  8

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1  who is the subject of the disciplinary proceeding to present

 2  evidence in mitigation relevant to the underlying charges and

 3  circumstances surrounding the plea.

 4         4.  False, deceptive, or misleading advertising or

 5  obtaining a fee or other thing of value on the representation

 6  that beneficial results from any treatment will be guaranteed.

 7         5.  Advertising, practicing, or attempting to practice

 8  under a name other than one's own.

 9         6.  Maintaining a professional association with any

10  person who the applicant, registered intern, or

11  certificateholder knows, or has reason to believe, is in

12  violation of this section or a rule of the department.

13         7.  Knowingly aiding, assisting, procuring, or advising

14  any unregistered or uncertified person to hold himself or

15  herself out as registered or certified under this section.

16         8.  Failing to perform any statutory or legal

17  obligation placed upon a person registered or certified under

18  this section.

19         9.  Willfully making or filing a false report or

20  record, failing to file a report or record required by state

21  or federal law, willfully impeding or obstructing the filing

22  of a report or record, or inducing another person to make or

23  file a false report or record or to impede or obstruct the

24  filing of a report or record. Such report or record means only

25  a report or record which requires the signature of a person

26  registered or certified under this section.

27         10.  Paying a kickback, rebate, bonus, or other

28  remuneration for receiving a patient or client, or receiving a

29  kickback, rebate, bonus, or other remuneration for referring a

30  patient or client to another provider of mental health care

31  services or to a provider of health care services or goods;

                                  9

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1  referring a patient or client to oneself for services on a

 2  fee-paid basis when those services are already being paid for

 3  by some other public or private entity; or entering into a

 4  reciprocal referral agreement.

 5         11.  Committing any act upon a patient or client which

 6  would constitute sexual battery or which would constitute

 7  sexual misconduct, as defined in section 491.0111, Florida

 8  Statutes.

 9         12.  Making misleading, deceptive, untrue, or

10  fraudulent representations in the practice of any profession

11  registered or certified under this section.

12         13.  Soliciting patients or clients personally, or

13  through an agent, through the use of fraud, intimidation,

14  undue influence, or a form of overreaching or vexatious

15  conduct.

16         14.  Failing to make available to a patient or client,

17  upon written request, copies of tests, reports, or documents

18  in the possession or under the control of the registered

19  intern or certificateholder which have been prepared for and

20  paid for by the patient or client.

21         15.  Failing to respond within 30 days to a written

22  communication from the department or the qualified association

23  concerning any investigation by the department or the

24  qualified association or failing to make available any

25  relevant records with respect to any investigation about the

26  registered intern's or certificateholder's conduct or

27  background.

28         16.  Being unable to practice the profession for which

29  he or she is registered or certified under this section with

30  reasonable skill or competence as a result of any mental or

31  physical condition or by reason of illness, drunkenness, or

                                  10

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1  excessive use of drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other

 2  substance. In enforcing this subparagraph, upon a finding by

 3  the qualified association that probable cause exists to

 4  believe that the registered intern or certificateholder is

 5  unable to practice the profession because of the reasons

 6  stated in this subparagraph, the qualified association shall

 7  have the authority to compel a registered intern or

 8  certificateholder to submit to a mental or physical

 9  examination by faith-based counselors, psychologists,

10  physicians, or licensees under chapter 491, Florida Statutes,

11  designated by the qualified association. If the registered

12  intern or certificateholder refuses to comply with such order,

13  the qualified association may suspend or revoke the person's

14  registration or certification. A registered intern or

15  certificateholder affected under this paragraph shall at

16  reasonable intervals be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate

17  that he or she can resume the competent practice for which he

18  or she is registered or certified with reasonable skill and

19  safety to patients.

20         17.  Performing any treatment or prescribing any

21  therapy which, by the prevailing standards of faith-based

22  counselors in the community, would constitute experimentation

23  on human subjects, without first obtaining full, informed, and

24  written consent.

25         18.  Failing to meet the minimum standards of

26  performance in professional activities when measured against

27  generally prevailing peer performance, including the

28  undertaking of activities for which the registered intern or

29  certificateholder is not qualified by training or experience.

30         19.  Delegating professional responsibilities to a

31  person who the registered intern or certificateholder knows or

                                  11

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1  has reason to know is not qualified by training or experience

 2  to perform such responsibilities.

 3         20.  Violating a rule relating to the regulation of the

 4  profession or a lawful order of the qualified association

 5  previously entered in a disciplinary hearing.

 6         21.  Failure of the registered intern or

 7  certificateholder to maintain in confidence a communication

 8  made by a patient or client in the context of such services,

 9  except as provided in section 491.0147, Florida Statutes.

10         22.  Making public statements which are derived from

11  test data, client contacts, or behavioral research and which

12  identify or damage research subjects or clients.

13         (b)  The qualified association shall notify the

14  department within 10 days after the suspension or revocation

15  of the registration or certification of any faith-based

16  counselor registered or certified under this subsection.

17         (c)1.  The qualified association shall notify the

18  department when the qualified association finds there is a

19  violation of any of the provisions of this subsection which

20  threatens harm to any patient or client.

21         2.  The qualified association shall notify the

22  department when the qualified association finds, within 30

23  days after written notification by registered mail of the

24  requirement for registration, that a person continues to offer

25  faith-based counseling services without a certificate of

26  registration. The department shall enforce the provisions of

27  this subsection pursuant to chapter 491, Florida Statutes.

28         (9)  EXEMPTIONS.--No provision of this section shall be

29  construed to limit the performance of activities of a rabbi,

30  priest, minister, or member of the clergy of any religious

31  denomination or sect or use of the term "Christian counselor"

                                  12

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1  or "Christian clinical counselor" when the activities of such

 2  person are within the scope of the performance of his or her

 3  regular or specialized ministerial duties and no compensation

 4  is received by him or her or when such activities are

 5  performed, with or without compensation, by a person for or

 6  under the auspices or sponsorship, individually or in

 7  conjunction with others, of an established and legally

 8  cognizable church, denomination, or sect and when the person

 9  rendering service remains accountable to the established

10  authority thereof.

11         (10)  CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVILEGED

12  COMMUNICATIONS.--Any communication between any person

13  registered or certified under this section and his or her

14  patient or client shall be confidential. This secrecy may be

15  waived under the following conditions:

16         (a)  When the person certified under this chapter is a

17  party defendant to a civil, criminal, or disciplinary action

18  arising from a complaint filed by the patient or client, in

19  which case the waiver shall be limited to that action.

20         (b)  When the patient or client agrees to the waiver,

21  in writing, or when more than one person in a family is

22  receiving therapy and each family member agrees to the waiver,

23  in writing.

24         (c)  When there is a clear and immediate probability of

25  physical harm to the patient or client, to other individuals,

26  or to society and the person registered or certified under

27  this section communicates the information only to the

28  potential victim, appropriate family member, or law

29  enforcement or other appropriate authorities.

30         (11)  RECORDS.--

31  

                                  13

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1         (a)  Each faith-based counselor who provides services

 2  as defined in this section shall give notice to all clients

 3  and patients on all intake documents and counseling agreements

 4  that he or she is not licensed by this state but is registered

 5  or certified by the qualified association pursuant to this

 6  section. All intake documents and counseling agreements shall

 7  contain the address and telephone number of the qualified

 8  association.

 9         (b)  Each faith-based counselor who provides services

10  as defined in this section shall maintain records. The

11  qualified association may adopt rules defining the minimum

12  requirements for records and reports, including content,

13  length of time records shall be maintained, and transfer of

14  either the records or a report of such records to a subsequent

15  treating practitioner or other individual, with written

16  consent of the client or clients.

17         (12)  DISPLAY OF REGISTRATION OR CERTIFICATE; USE OF

18  PROFESSIONAL TITLE ON PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS.--

19         (a)  A person registered or certified under this

20  section as a faith-based counselor shall conspicuously display

21  the valid registration certificate issued by qualified

22  association or a true copy thereof at each location at which

23  the certificateholder practices his or her profession.

24         (b)  A certified faith-based counselor shall include

25  the words "certified faith-based counselor" on all promotional

26  materials, including cards, brochures, stationery,

27  advertisements, and signs, naming the certificateholder.

28         (13)  FEES NONREFUNDABLE.--The fees paid by any

29  applicant for certification as a registered faith-based

30  counselor under this section are nonrefundable.

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2176
    11-717-04                                           See HB 707




 1         (14)  REPORT.--The qualified association issuing

 2  certificates of registration under this section shall annually

 3  report to the department the number of faith-based counselors

 4  and interns registered during the most recent calendar year

 5  and the names and addresses of the counselors and interns.

 6         Section 2.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a

 7  law.

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