Licensed Educational Psychologists FAQ
What is a Licensed Educational Psychologist?
The Board of Behavioral Science states the following:
The practice of educational psychology is the performance of any professional functions pertaining to academic learning processes or the education system or both including diagnosis of psychological disorders related to academic learning processes.
Can you contract as an independent assessor if you have a license as an Educational Psychologists (LEP)?
You can contract as an independent assessor if you have In an LEP license. If you do not have this, districts can contract with you as an employee.
What are the differences between the LEP and the School Psychologist as to what they can do, what protocol they should follow in situations? Where are the rules and guidelines for the LEP written?
An LEP is a school psychologist who has met the criteria and passed a licensing exam from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences to practice privately, outside of the school setting. All information regarding the scope of practice of an LEP can be found on the BBS website www.bbs.ca.gov
Would an active California Pupil Services Credential in School Psychology on a Master’s degree level alone allow someone to work in someone else’s private practice outside school settings under the supervision of a licensed psychologist? What job functions (just testing, not counseling?), if any could be performed under the supervision with the School Psychology or any other credential?
In order to perform any duties such as testing, counseling, interventions or consultation outside of the public school setting a school psychologist must have an LEP license. And one cannot get a license without a California Pupil Services Credential in Psychology and three years of full-time experience.
Regarding LEP function, what does it mean to diagnose psychological disorders related to academic learning processes? Does this refer to the use of the DSM-5 to actually diagnose a student?
Generally it refers to using educational criteria for identifying students with learning and behavioral problems. This means utilizing DSM-5 criteria to diagnose psychological disorders related to academic learning processes.
What is the age range that an LEP can work with using this license?
There is no age range or age limit for LEPs’ clients. Instead, the issue for which the client is seeking services must impact their educational program or vocation. LEPs can see school-aged children or adults, just make sure that their issues are impacting school or work.
Can a school psychologist working for a county office of education contract with another school district to provide cognitive testing for gifted/talented students outside of school without having an LEP license?
If a school psychologist is working as an employee of that district or as an employee of a staffing agency an LEP license would not be necessary. However, if a school psychologist is contracting independently to provide assessments then he or she must have a license.
What CPT codes, if any, can an LEP use when writing a receipt for a client who would like to bill insurance?
The CPT code 96101 for billing designates the type of service provided. It is the code for psychological testing, interpretation and report writing.
Since LEP’s do not have NPI numbers, should the LEP license number be included when LEPs bill?
You should include the LEP number when billing for services, but don’t be surprised if they balk at the license at first. Insurance companies have difficulty with the LEP because it is not used very often for insurance billing. They are getting better as the LEP becomes more common, but you may have to spend some time at first talking with insurance carriers about what the LEP is, and how to bill for services.
The reason that LEPs do not have NPI numbers is that LEPs do not typically take insurance, or deal with the insurance system. Our standard of practice is that we are HIPAA compliant, but with very little direct billing to insurance companies or third parties for our services, NPI numbers are not necessary.
Can a school psychologist ethically assist an LEP in the role of a Spanish translator and testing interpreter for administration of tests? Are there any boundaries or limitations regarding this role?
There is no ethical violation for acting as an interpreter. In this instance the role of interpreter would not include analysis of data or any other psychological skills, just language interpretation.
Does a school psychologist need an LEP License to contract with a school district that needs assessment support given the current shortage? All cases and meetings will be at the schools, not a clinic. The testing is for initials, triennials, and ERMHS evaluations, not IEEs.
A contractor is a private person or corporation that provides a scope of work for an entity (in this case a school district), works on their own timeline (is not bound by union contracts), and is not considered an employee of the school district. If not an employee of the district, but an independent contractor, it would be considered working in private practice, and would require an LEP to provide services of any kind.
To get around this, the district could hire a person on a part-time or temporary basis with a PPS Credential. Without an LEP, another option would be to work for a temp agency that provides school psych services to districts. In that capacity, a person is an employee of the temp agency, and a credential should suffice to work for the district. There have been instances of districts “loaning” psychologists to other districts on a temporary basis to help with overload. A PPS credential would suffice for that scope of work.
Is it O.K. to test a family member’s daughter in the area of attention when the testing will be conducted outside the district of employment?
In general, it is not good ethical practice to assess the children of friends or family members, as this constitutes a “dual role relationship.”
CASP Code of Ethics states:
School psychologists refrain from any activity in which conflicts of interest or multiple relationships with a student or a student’s family may interfere with professional effectiveness.
School psychologists attempt to resolve such situations in a manner that provides greatest benefit to the student. School psychologists whose personal or religious beliefs or commitments may influence the nature of their professional services or their willingness to provide certain services inform clients and responsible parties of this fact. When personal beliefs, conflicts of interests, or multiple relationships threaten to diminish professional effectiveness or would be viewed by the public as inappropriate, school psychologists ask their supervisor for reassignment of responsibilities, or they direct the client to alternative services.
One option would be to support the parents in requesting assistance from the school and school psychologist where the child attends. In the event the child attends private school, the local public school where the child would attend would be the appropriate school from which to request assistance.
Are we as LEPs allowed to make a diagnosis of anxiety disorder if we have been trained to do so; for example, as when assessing a 19 year old for a possible learning disability related to math and the scores do not meet LD criteria but generalized anxiety disorder is revealed?
The short answer is yes. LEPs can diagnose if they have the training and knowledge in that area. It can be a necessary part of private practice.
What is the ethical obligation of LEPs when emailing? What do emails constitute, in general, as an LEP/private practitioner? What are the parameters when emailing to a teacher, administrator, therapist about a student?
The HIPAA final rule, which was released in January of 2013, clarified that it is acceptable for clients to authorize the use of email to communicate protected health information. Clients need to be informed of risks and, despite the risks, decide to authorize the emails. Authorization is more than just informed consent, though. It’s a more formal process which specifies what is being authorized and provides a cutoff date or triggering event that ends the authorization. Your release of information form is likely also an “authorization” form.
When clients authorize the use of email to communicate, it is a form of accepting a risk and foregoing security measures. For that reason, it is advised to document in that client’s record the reasons for accepting the risk and using unsecured email.
There appear to be two issues: 1) is legal – HIPPA regulations regarding emails and documentation of client consent and what is being authorized, and 2) would be a broad ethical statement about protecting client confidentiality and privacy in all forms of communication including telephone and messaging, electronic communications including email, consultation, etc.
The CASP LEP Code of Ethics indicates e-mail should be included as a form of communication on the release of information, along with the more general “please follow HIPPA” statement.
Can LEPs, upon retirement, sell their tests to other qualified school psychologists (or their schools) and/or LEPS?
That would have to be answered by the test publisher.
Can a credentialed school psychologist work for a private therapeutic literacy center including cognitive, achievement, behavioral testing, student counseling? What are the legal implications (if any), to generate ‘Psych Reports’ indicating significant patterns of strengths and weaknesses’ etc. and carry out some student-level individual counseling?
In order to work outside of a school setting, an LEP is needed.
Must LEPs practice through a professional corporation or may they practice through a general business corporation?
The Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act says that BBS licensees can be part of a professional corporation. There was also the section that listed the types of licensees that participate in/own the various types of professional corporations. Licensed Psychologists were listed on many of them, but Licensed Educational Psychologists are not referenced. In California, those are two very different professions, and overseen by different governing bodies. Since LEPs are educational in nature and not clinical, forming an S Corp is recommended.