Attention Psychiatrists in All States
Multiple State Boards of Medicine have reported that scammers have been attempting to obtain personal information from licensees by pretending to be calling or sending letters from the Board. Scammers who obtain personal information such as date of birth, social security number, and home address can use that information to commit identity theft and cause significant financial problems for the victim.
The following is a list of red flags found in a recent scam letters reported to the State Boards. If you receive a letter with any of these red flags, or something just doesn’t look right, contact your State Board’s office for confirmation before responding.
- Photocopied letterhead using the wrong address for the State Board
- Grammar and spelling errors
- Legal references that do not make sense such as “section 1146 of Aviation Drug Act”
- Copied and pasted signatures
- Signature line indicating the Board of Medicine is under the “National Medical Association” or the “Department of Health & Welfare”
Remember, the State Boards will not take actions against a provider’s license, such as a license suspension or other discipline, without due process and without notice to the licensee.
If you receive a suspicious call or letter, you should not share any personal information over the phone or by email. Licensees who think they may be a victim of a scam or attempted fraud should contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General for their respective state.
For more information visit this link to the Professional Licensing Report (PLR) website: https://professionallicensingreport.org/fbi-impostors-posing-as-regulators-threaten-medical-licensees-nationwide-with-license-suspension/.
Attention California Psychiatrists
Use of Telehealth for Evaluations for Involuntary Psychiatric Holds
California has passed legislation that allows evaluations and assessments for involuntary psychiatric holds to be conducted using telehealth technology. California’s Lanterman-Petris-Short Act authorizes the involuntary commitment and treatment of individuals with mental health disorders. If an individual is considered to be a danger to themself or others as a result of a mental health disorder, the individual may be taken into custody for a period of up to 72 hours for assessment, evaluation, and crisis intervention. These 72-hour involuntary commitments are commonly referred to as “5150 holds,” in reference to the Welfare & Institutions Code Section authorizing the process. Counties designate certain general acute care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals and other health care facilities that can evaluate and assess 5150 patients.
Prior to admitting a person to a health care facility for treatment and evaluation pursuant to Section 5150, a physician, psychiatrist, or other qualified professional must assess the individual to determine the appropriateness of the involuntary detention. Until recently, the professional needed to conduct the assessment “in person.”
The new law provides that a 5150 assessment must be made “face-to-face,” but can be conducted “either in person or by synchronous interaction through a mode of telehealth that utilizes both audio and visual components.” The new law also clarifies that 5150 evaluations conducted using telehealth modalities are protected by existing laws that grant civil and criminal liability immunity to hospitals and licensed professionals in connection with 5150 evaluations.
Effective January 1, 2022, all prescriptions issued by a licensed prescriber need to be done electronically pursuant to Assembly Bill (AB) 2789. The law requires that all prescriptions in California shall be issued as an electronic data transmission prescription (e-prescriptions). The law, however, provides certain exemptions including, if an e-prescription is temporarily unavailable because of technological or electrical failure, or if the prescription is dispensed by a pharmacy located outside California. The exemptions to these requirements are included within Business and Professions Code section 688.
Attention Oregon Psychiatrists
Mandatory Cultural Competency Education
The rule implements changes to ORS 676.850 provided in HB 2011 (2019) mandating cultural competency education as a condition of license renewal. The rule requires Board licensees to complete the equivalent of at least one hour of cultural competency continuing education per year. Hours could be obtained at any time during the audit period and licensees may report hours every license registration renewal cycle, but compliance audits would be done every other cycle. During the license registration renewal, licensees will attest to completing the required hours and report the number of completed hours. The Board will start auditing during the Fall 2023 renewal cycle.
Attention Ohio Psychiatrists
Duty to Report
Per the State Medical Board of Ohio: Ohio physicians and many other allied health care providers, regulated by the State Medical Board of Ohio, are obligated to report violations of law, rule and code of ethics standards to the Medical Board. Knowing a colleague is violating regulations and not reporting to the Medical Board not only puts patients at risk but also puts your license to practice in jeopardy. Failure to report can result in fines of up to $20,000 and disciplinary action.
While standards of care and scope of practice are specific to the type of health care you provide, you should be familiar with three main sets of regulations:
- Statutes: Laws are outlined in Ohio Revised Code (ORC). A link for each license type can be found on the State Medical Board of Ohio website.
- Rules: Regulations that were created specifically by the State Medical Board of Ohio for its licensees. These are found in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) and a link for each license type can be found on the State Medical Board of Ohio website.
- Code of Ethics for your profession – available at https://med.ohio.gov/Laws-Rules/Code-of-Ethics?utm_source=BenchmarkEmail&utm_campaign=August_eNews_2020&utm_%20medium=email
- In 2019, the State Medical Board of Ohio took additional steps to ensure licensees know the seriousness of their duty to report knowledge of misconduct. The board added a new section to the application and renewal process to ensure those applying for and renewing their licenses are aware of the duty to report.
Licensees should not assume that by informing their supervisor their duty to report is fulfilled. Ohio law is clear on when a licensee needs to report information directly to the Medical Board. Anyone, including licensees, can file a complaint directly with the Medical Board 24/7 through the confidential complaint hotline at 1-833-333-SMBO (7626) or online at med.ohio.gov.
Attention South Dakota Psychiatrists
Senate Bill 96
In March 2021, South Dakota became the latest state to make some of its COVID-19 related telehealth flexibilities permanent. Senate Bill 96 removes the requirement for providers to conduct an in-person medical exam prior to rendering a telehealth service. The change will mean that patients can establish a new relationship with a provider via telehealth. The law also establishes a statutory definition of telehealth and store-and-forward technology.
Attention North Dakota Psychiatrists
New Statewide Toll-Free Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Number
The North Dakota Department of Human Services announced the launch of a statewide, toll-free child abuse and neglect reporting line that is part of a new child protection services intake process. Individuals who suspect a child is being abused or neglected in North Dakota should call 833-958-3500, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Central Time to make a report. If a child is in immediate danger, continue to call 911.
Further information can be found online at: http://www.nd.gov/dhs/services/childfamily/cps/.
Attention Washington Psychiatrists
New Physician Assistant Practice Laws, HB 2378
- Removes requirement that practice agreements between the PA and physician be approved by the Washington Medical Commission (WMC)
- Removes requirement for WMC approval for an entity to employ or work with a PA
- Removes WMC approval requirement for PAs to practice in remote sites
- Increases the MD/PA ratio from 1:5 to 1:10 with the option to request a higher ratio, with the understanding that a MD may not supervise more PAs than they are adequately able to
Information and questions about scheduled information sessions may be directed to the WMC Director of Quality and Engagement. Information may also be found on the WMC rule making web page: https://wmc.wa.gov/policies-rules/rules-and-regulations-progress.