Section 34-26-46


Published: 2015

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Section 34-26-46

Section 34-26-46Grounds for disciplinary action; mental or physical competence; penalties; judicial review; disciplinary oversight.

(a) The board shall suspend, place on probation, or require remediation, or any combination thereof, for any psychologist or psychological technician for a specified time, to be determined at the discretion of the board, or revoke any license to practice as a psychologist or psychological technician or take any other action specified in the rules and regulations whenever the board finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the psychologist or psychological technician has engaged in any of the following acts or offenses:



(1) Fraud or deception in applying for or procuring a license to practice as a psychologist or psychological technician; or in passing the examination provided for in this chapter.



(2) Practice as a psychologist or psychological technician under a false or assumed name or the impersonation of another practitioner of a like or different name.



(3) Immoral, unprofessional, or dishonorable conduct as defined in the rules and regulations promulgated by the board.



(4) Practicing as a psychologist or psychological technician in such a manner as to endanger the welfare of clients or patients.



(5) Conviction of felony (a copy of the record of conviction, certified to by the clerk of the court entering the conviction shall be conclusive evidence).



(6) Conviction of any crime or offense that reflects the inability of the practitioner to practice as a psychologist or psychological technician with due regard for the health and safety of clients or patients.



(7) Harassment, intimidation, or abuse, sexual or otherwise, of a client or patient.



(8) Engaging in sexual intercourse or other sexual contact with a client or patient.



(9) Use of repeated untruthful or deceptive or improbable statements concerning the licensee's qualifications or the effects or results of proposed treatment, including functioning outside of one's professional competence or area of specialization established by education, training, and experience as recognized by the board.



(10) Gross malpractice or repeated malpractice or gross negligence in practice as a psychologist or psychological technician.



(11) Aiding or abetting practice as a psychologist or psychological technician by any person not licensed by the board.



(12) Conviction of fraud in filing Medicare or Medicaid claims or in filing claims to any third party payor (a copy of the record of conviction, certified to by the clerk of the court entering the conviction, shall be conclusive evidence).



(13) Exercising undue influence in such a manner as to exploit the client, patient, student, or supervisee for financial or other personal advantage to the practitioner or a third party.



(14) The suspension or revocation by another state of a license to practice as a psychologist or psychological technician for cause other than failure to renew the license (a certified copy of the record of suspension or revocation of the state making such a suspension or revocation shall be conclusive evidence thereof).



(15) Refusal to appear before the board after having been ordered to do so in writing by the executive office or chair of the board.



(16) Making any fraudulent or untrue statement to the board.



(17) Failing to cooperate with or to respond promptly, completely, and honestly to the board.



(18) Violation of the code of ethics adopted in the rules and regulations of the board.



(19) Upon the recommendation of the Ethics Committee of the Alabama Psychological Association, or of its successor organization, or the Ethics Committee of the American Psychological Association.



(20) Inability to practice as a psychologist or psychological technician with reasonable skill and safety to patients or clients by reason of illness, inebriation, misuse of drugs, narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, or any other substance, or as a result of any mental or physical condition.



(21) Engaging in practice as a psychologist or psychological technician before a license is issued.



(22) Practice of a level of psychology inappropriate or beyond the scope of the particular license held by the licensee.



(23) Failure to comply with any of the respective responsibilities of a supervisor or supervisee as provided in this chapter.



(b) When the issue is whether or not a psychologist or psychological technician is physically or mentally capable of practicing as a psychologist or psychological technician with reasonable skill and safety to patients or clients, then, upon a showing of probable cause to the board that the psychologist or psychological technician is not capable of practicing psychology with reasonable skill and safety to patients, the board may petition a court of competent jurisdiction to order the psychologist or psychological technician in question to submit to a psychological examination by a psychologist to determine psychological status and/or a physical examination by a physician to determine physical condition. The psychologist and/or physician is to be designated by the court. The expense of the examination shall be borne by the board. Where the psychologist or psychological technician raises the issue of mental or physical competence or appeals a decision regarding his or her mental or physical competence, the psychologist or psychological technician shall be permitted to obtain his or her own evaluation at his or her own expense. If the objectivity or adequacy of the examination is suspect, the board may complete an examination by its designated practitioners at its own expense. When mental or physical capacity to practice is at issue, every psychologist or psychological technician licensed to practice in the state shall be deemed to have given consent to submit to a mental or physical examination or to any combination of such examinations and to waive all objections to the admissibility of the examination, or to previously adjudicated evidence of mental incompetence.



(c) In addition to any penalties referenced in subsection (d), the board may assess the cost of any investigation, legal service, legal proceeding, or disciplinary action against any applicant or licensee found to be in violation of this chapter.



(d) In determining the amount of any penalty, which may not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation or a total of five thousand dollars ($5,000), the board shall consider the seriousness of the violation, including any threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the public, the unlawful gain or economic benefit gained from the violation, the history of previous violations by the person, and the efforts of the person to mitigate and comply with this chapter.



(e) Judicial review of an order entered by the board under this section shall be conducted in accordance with those provisions providing for the judicial review of contested cases of the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.



(f) The board shall exercise its jurisdiction for disciplinary oversight of licensees for any psychological services, regardless of how or where those services are rendered, even if those services are rendered in another state, federal facility, or foreign country during the licensure period. The board may not accept the voluntary surrender of a license on the part of a licensee in an effort to avoid possible disciplinary actions by the board. Inactive status does not negate the jurisdiction of the board over the actions of a license during any period of active licensure. If a former licensee or a licensee on inactive status is found to be in violation of a state law or administrative rule, a public announcement of the decision of the board shall be proffered in a manner to be determined by rule of the board.



(g) The Board of Examiners in Psychology may refuse to grant a license, or may recommend suspension of any license for a definite period not to exceed three years. The board may, upon satisfactory proof that any applicant or licentiate has been guilty of any of the above offenses, refuse to grant a license to the applicant or may recommend revocation of a license of the licentiate upon a vote of at least four members of the board. After three years from the date of a revocation, an application for reinstatement may be made to the board, and it may, upon favorable action by four of its members, recommend reinstatement.

(Acts 1963, No. 535, p. 1147, §9; Acts 1988, No. 88-216, p. 332, §3; Acts 1997, No. 97-387, p. 619, §3; Act 98-146, p. 230, §3; Act 2013-386, p. 1484, §1.)

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