Medical Psychology Supervision

Guidance for Medical PsychologistsDuring its 2014 session, the Louisiana Legislature established two (2) new categories of providers who are licensed and regulated by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (LSBEP). As to each, the laws provide a supervisory relationship with a psychologist or medical psychologist (MP).  Specifically, Act 136 established licensed specialists in school psychology (LSSP); Act 137 created provisionally licensed psychologists (PLP).

A LSSP is defined as an individual:

[W]ho applies his knowledge of both psychology and education during consultation and collaboration with others and engages in specific services for students, such as direct and indirect interventions that focus on academic skills, learning, socialization, and mental health. La. R.S. 37:2352(4).

A LSSP who practices as such but is “working outside of the school system” is required to do so under the clinical supervision of a Louisiana licensed psychologist or MP, who is “administrative, clinically, and legally responsible for all professional activities of the licensed specialist in school psychology . . . and shall be required to sign any final reports. . ..” La. R.S. 37:2356.2.B(1)(b).

A PLP is defined as an individual who is:

[P]rovisionally licensed under this Chapter. La. R.S. 37:2352(7).

A PLP is required to maintain a relationship with a licensed psychologist or MP for purposes of clinical supervision. An MP who has entered into such a relationship “shall have legal functioning authority of the professional activities of the PLP.” La. R.S. 37:2356.2.D.

The LSBEP adopted emergency rules for PLP, which prescribe the supervisory obligations. (La. Reg. Vol. 40, No. 8, pp. 1474-1477 (Aug. 2014)). It is likely that rules prescribing obligations for supervisors of LSSP will be issued in due course.

While the LSBEP has no regulatory authority over MPs who do not maintain their license with the LSBEP, the supervisory requirements imposed upon LSSP and PLP by the law and any LSBEP regulations must be met in order for these individuals to lawfully practice their profession. With that in mind, the Board would consider it the professional obligation of any MP who undertakes the supervision of an LSSP or PLP to be aware of and comply with the obligations imposed on such supervisors by law and LSBEP rules. Failure to provide such supervision would work to the detriment of the LSSP or PLP (and clients), who could also be found to be engaged in an improper practice for lack of supervision.

In short, while there may little occasion for an MP to serve as a supervisor for a LSSP or a PLP, an MP who does so should comply with the supervisory obligations imposed by law and LSBEP regulations. To do otherwise may be viewed by the Board as unprofessional conduct or having a professional association with an improper practitioner, which could give rise to disciplinary investigation and/or action by the Board.