Attention VABA Members!
The Department of Health Professions (DHP) through the Board of Medicine (BOM) does perodic reviews of regulations. Our behavior analyst licensure regulations are currently up for review; they can be found by going to this link and scrolling down: https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/medicine/medicine_laws_regs.htm. It is very important that we Licensed Behavior Analysts and Licensed Assistant Behavior Analysts take proactive measures to ensure our profession’s integrity rather than allowing others who are not familiar with our discipline to determine the content of the licensure regulations. The VABA Public Policy Committee has developed recommendations in conjunction with the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, which appear below in the form of sample comments for submission to the BOM. We urge all of you to become familiar with the regulations and to submit recommendations during the public comment period, which ends Wednesday, June 27, 2018. Those comments must be submitted at http://www.townhall.virginia.gov/l/ViewPReview.cfm?PRID=1655.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Thank you for supporting VABA and our profession.
Christy Evanko, BCBA, LBA
Administrative Director, VABA
Sample public comments:
As a [Licensed Behavior Analyst] [Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst] practicing in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I respectfully ask the Board of Medicine to consider the following recommendations for revisions in the “Regulations Governing the Practice of Behavior Analysis” that appear at https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/medicine/medicine_laws_regs.htm:
1. Make current certification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) the main requirement for obtaining, renewing, and reinstating licenses for Licensed Behavior Analysts and Licensed Assistant Behavior Analysts.
RATIONALE: The requirements for obtaining and maintaining BACB certifications have been derived from multiple, extensive job analysis studies conducted by the BACB over the past 20 years to identify the competencies required to practice behavior analysis professionally, the training required to develop those competencies, and the content of the professional examinations to evaluate knowledge of the subject matter. Those studies have involved thousands of professional behavior analysts. The requirements also reflect case law and best practices in professional credentialing. The BACB repeats the job analysis study every few years and changes the certification requirements and exam content accordingly. It also periodically updates its Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts as well as its supervision and continuing education standards. Requiring verification of current BACB certification to renew a Virginia license will ensure that all Licensed Behavior Analysts and Licensed Assistant Behavior Analysts in the Commonwealth meet the international standards set by the profession even as those standards change over time. It also ensures that the Virginia licensing requirements have sound empirical and legal foundations, and that the behavior analyst licensure program is operated in a cost-effective manner, because the BOM will need only verify that an applicant for renewal is certified by the BACB in good standing by going to this link: https://www.bacb.com/verify-certification/. Failing to require current BACB certification in order to renew or reinstate a license, on the other hand, would create two categories of licensees: one (initial licensees) comprising individuals who meet the international standards of the profession and one (renewing or reinstated licensees) that does not. That would mislead consumers, employers, and funders and put vulnerable consumers at risk of receiving services from unqualified individuals.
2. Require licensees who supervise Licensed Assistant Behavior Analysts and unlicensed personnel to be approved as supervisors by the BACB.
RATIONALE: The BACB has specific requirements for those who supervise Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts and Registered Behavior Technicians, including completion of competency-based training and continuing education in supervision and standards regarding the quantity, quality, and documentation of supervision activities (see https://www.bacb.com/requirements-for-supervisors, https://www.bacb.com/supervision-resources/, andhttps://www.bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/161216-standards-for-supervision-of-BCaBAs.pdf). As with other BACB standards, those have been set by the profession. Supervisors and supervisees who are credentialed by the BACB must comply with those requirements in order to maintain their credentials, so Virginia Licensed Behavior Analysts and Licensed Assistant Behavior Analysts who fail to comply with them are at risk of losing their BACB credentials and therefore of violating the Virginia licensure law. Incorporating the BACB supervision requirements into the Virginia licensure regulations by reference will prevent that and ensure that the supervision practices of LBAs and LABAs meet the profession’s standards.
3. Add a provision similar to that in the athletic trainers regulations to allow applicants for licensure who are certified by the BACB to practice under supervision while their licensure application is being processed.
RATIONALE: With certification by the BACB as the main requirement for licensure, applicants will have met the degree, coursework, and supervised experiential training requirements set by the profession and will have passed the only psychometrically and legally validated professional examinations in the practice of behavior analysis that are available. There is nothing about having the license in hand that renders them more qualified to practice than they were when they applied for the license. At present, however,Virginia service provider organizations often find themselves in the situation where they have employees who have attained BACB certification but must stop serving consumers for two months while they wait for their licensure application to be processed. That restricts consumer access to ABA services, which remain in high demand in the Commonwealth. That problem could be alleviated by allowing applicants for licensure to practice under the supervision of Licensed Behavior Analysts during the interim between submission of their application and issuance of their license.
Thank you for your consideration.