Authorizes a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or emergency medical technician to act as a designated camp health director or to provide health services at a children's overnight, summer day, or traveling summer day camp with a permit.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law and the education law, in relation to the provision of certain professional services to children's camps
PURPOSE: The bill allows children's overnight camps, summer day camps, and traveling summer day camps to employ licensed professionals in order to serve the needs of children during their summer camp experience. The bill resolves a statutory conflict between section 6512 of the Education Law and Department of Health regulation 10 NYCRR 7-2.8(a). In addition, the bill allows organizations to employ licensed social workers and licensed mental health professionals so that these organizations may continue to provide high-quality services without interruption.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill amends section 1394 of the Public Health Law to allow an individual licensed in a profession by the State Education Department to practice his or her profession as an employee of a summer camp.
Section two of the bill repeals section 6503-a of the Education Law and replaces it with language that authorizes organizations to employ licensed social workers and licensed mental health professionals.
JUSTIFICATION: The State Education Department (SED) has interpreted section 6512 of the Education Law to prohibit any licensed professional from practicing his or her profession while under the supervision of a non-licensed professional in that particular field. This is commonly known as the ban on corporate practice. The SED's statutory interpretation prohibits community based organizations and businesses from employing licensed professionals to provide quality services in New York's communities.
Exemption for Camps
The SED has construed that the corporate practice ban restricts summer camps from employing licensed professionals. This means that camps cannot legally employ nurses or social workers to meet the needs of children in their emotional and physical growth during the summer camp experience.
Parents and camps rely on the presence of licensed professionals at camps to ensure that children receive their daily medication for
allergies or illness, prevent and stop the outbreak of hair lice, evaluate illnesses and injuries that may occur, promote an environment to prevent infectious outbreaks like MRSA from occurring, and otherwise safeguard the well being of campers and staff. Other licensed professionals such as social workers benefit children through emotional development by helping them deal with separation anxiety, promoting team-building and leadership skills, and teaching ways to resolve conflicts.
Moreover, the SED's interpretation of section 6512 of the Education Law is in direct conflict with Department of Health regulation 10 NYCRR 7-2.8(a), which requires camps to have a licensed health care professional on staff to act as the camp health director. This bill gives peace of mind to parents, knowing that their children are in the safe hands of licensed professionals during their summer camp experience, while also allowing camps to provide the same nurturing services that they have provided in the past.
Exemption for Social Workers and Licensed Mental Health Professionals
In 2002, legislation was passed that established the professions of licensed master social work, licensed clinical social work, licensed mental health counseling, licensed marriage and family therapy, licensed creative arts therapy, licensed psychoanalysis, and licensed psychology, thereby making a range of activities such as psychotherapy and certain types of counseling subject to professional licensure requirements for the first time. For decades prior to the enactment of these new licensure requirements, countless social service organizations, private entities and government agencies had employed individuals to provide social work, psychotherapy and mental health services. However, once the licensure provisions went into effect the corporate practice prohibition was triggered. As a result, thousands of organizations were violating the corporate practice doctrine merely by continuing to employ their own workers. Moreover, when new individuals sought to enter these professions by applying for licensure, which requires a demonstration of work experience, the SED began denying the applications whenever the prospective licensee had worked for a social service organization or other entity which the SED deemed to lack authority to provide such professional services.
As the SED began denying applications, the problem of the corporate practice ban became apparent. In response, Chapters 130 and 132 of the Laws of2010 authorized the SED to develop and issue waivers to allow not-for-profit entities and educational corporations to continue to employ certain licensed professionals. Section 6503(a) of the Education Law sets forth the waiver process. The original deadline for entities to file for a waiver was originally June 16, 2011, and was extended to February 1, 2012 at the end of 2011 legislative session.
The creation of the waiver process was a well intentioned solution to a workforce and care delivery problem. However, there are serious problems and unintended consequences with the waiver process. The waiver application itself requires the applying not-for-profit to attest under penalty of perjury that the not-for-profit does not employ any of the other 48 licensed professions in New York. Many entities are required by regulation, law or contract with federal, state and local entities to employ other licensed professionals. In addition, SED is seeking intrusive and large quantities of information from a waiver applicant's board of directors. These requirements go beyond the specifications of the statute and are jeopardizing the willingness of volunteer board members to remain on such boards.
Moreover, Education Law section 6503(a) requires any new not-for-profit corporation formed in New York to first obtain a determination from the SED that its services are needed in order to be permitted to form, have its articles of incorporation approved, and be authorized to employ social workers. This certification exceeds the involvement that a single agency should have in shaping the broader health and human services system in New York, particularly when the SED does not typically fund or regulate health or human services beyond the licensed professionals in their employ.
It could be argued that, absent a change in the law, any organization that did not apply for a waiver prior to February 1, 2012 is committing a felony by continuing to employ licensed social workers and other licensed mental health professionals, and cannot hire such individuals unless and until they receive waivers from SED. Repealing the waiver process and replacing it with language that provides an exemption from corporate practice restriction solves these problems. This legislation would provide a new section 6503-a of Education Law that would allow organizations to employ licensed social workers and licensed mental health professionals. Creating exemptions from the corporate practice restrictions has been done before in New York. Indeed, there are numerous exemptions throughout New York State law for hospice organizations, speech pathologists, pharmacists, massage therapists, hospitals, insurance companies, optometrists and health maintenance organizations. An exemption from the corporate practice ban for organizations that employ licensed social workers and mental health professionals will ensure that that these organizations can retain their qualified staff and offer critical services to the communities they serve.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6466--A IN SENATE February 13, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sens. BONACIC, JOHNSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Higher Education -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public health law and the education law, in relation to the provision of certain professional services to children's camps THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 1394 of the public health law is amended by adding a new subdivision 3 to read as follows: 3. NOTHING IN SECTION SIX THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED TWELVE OF THE EDUCA- TION LAW SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL AS LIST- ED IN TITLE EIGHT OF THE EDUCATION LAW, FROM PRACTICING HIS OR HER LICENSED PROFESSION WHILE EMPLOYED BY A CHILDREN'S OVERNIGHT CAMP, SUMMER DAY CAMP, OR TRAVELING SUMMER DAY CAMP, AS DEFINED IN SECTION ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED NINETY-TWO OF THIS ARTICLE. S 2. Section 6503-a of the education law is REPEALED and a new section 6503-a is added to read as follows: S 6503-A. EXEMPTION FOR ENTITIES PROVIDING CERTAIN PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LAWS TO THE CONTRARY, AN ENTITY MAY EMPLOY OR CONTRACT WITH A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL TO PROVIDE: (A) SERVICES PROVIDED UNDER ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-FOUR OR ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE OF THIS TITLE FOR WHICH LICENSURE WOULD BE REQUIRED; OR (B) SERVICES CONSTITUTING THE PROVISION OF PSYCHOTHERAPY AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION TWO OF SECTION EIGHTY-FOUR HUNDRED ONE OF THIS TITLE AND AUTHORIZED AND PROVIDED UNDER ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE, ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-NINE, OR ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE OF THIS TITLE. 2. SUCH SERVICES MAY BE PROVIDED EITHER DIRECTLY THROUGH THE ENTITY'S EMPLOYEES OR INDIRECTLY BY CONTRACT WITH INDIVIDUALS OR PROFESSIONAL ENTITIES DULY LICENSED, REGISTERED, OR AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE SUCH SERVICES. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14356-02-2