Is person studying for and writing their BCBA exam multiple times still held to the ethical codes during this time?
Relevant background: This person frequently billed, solicited clients and therapists, and provided services while unsupervised.
Possible solutions: Submitted complaint to AZ psych board but they didn’t have jurisdiction.
Credentialing: Person is not a credentialed behavior analyst
Committee Input (e.g., considerations for pathways forward, potential barriers, potential solutions):
The Ethics committee acknowledges that a supervisee in question is not a BCBA, and thus the State Licensing Board and Behavior Analyst Certification Board do not have jurisdiction. In the case that there is an Ethics violation, the board would hold the Licensed Behavior Analyst overseeing the supervisee as the person responsible to answer to the board(s). As for all behavior analytic services provided in the state of Arizona, supervisees are required to practice under a licensed, Board Certified Behavior Analyst. This BCBA has the responsibility to ensure the supervisee is providing ethical and competent services.
In accordance with BACB guidance regarding possible complaints, it is recommended that the author of this complaint reach out to the supervisee to discuss potential violations as well as reaching out to the BACB overseeing the supervisee. If the overseeing BCBA is not readily known, it is advised that the author reach out to the highest BCBA in leadership to determine who should be involved in remedying the complaint areas.
- Regarding the billing aspect of this complaint, it is advised to reach out to the supervising BCBA to determine if a billing violation occurred. Depending on the funder and service contract, some codes are allowed to be billed without the presence of an overseeing LBA.
- Regarding soliciting clients, more information would be needed to determine if this is a potential violation. Solicitation itself would not be a violation unless testimonials are being requested from clients or personal information is being disclosed (HIPAA violation). Solicitation of clients and therapists from other companies may be considered “bad practice” but are not considered ethical violations.
- Regarding providing services while not under the supervision of an LBA, this may be allowable depending on the funder. The supervisee should be following guidance for ongoing supervision per Board standards and should not be prescribing treatment without direct/indirect supervision.
- This may be a complaint for the supervising BCBA under 4.01 Compliance with Supervision Requirements, 4.04 Accountability in Supervision and 4.06 Providing Supervision and Training and A.R.S. 32-2091 12(e), and 32-2091 12(y).
Considerations for exploration:The committee would encourage the author to explore the following steps as options; this should not be considered legal employment advice:
Formally address your concerns with the supervising BCBA and supervisee to ensure they are aware of the ethical requirements on supervision. Provide suggestions to them on ways in which they can support BCBAs in your agency that are more conducive to best practices in supervision and quality care for clients.
- Documentation of concerns can provide protection against wrongful termination and provides a clear statement for follow-up.
If meaningful change is not made to satisfy the ethical code of conduct, the author should consider sending their letter to the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners and Behavior Analyst Certification Board regarding the supervising BCBA.
- Establish if fraudulent billing occurred based on funder requirements; self-disclose errors with funders if necessary.
Applicable Ethics Codes and ARS (identified by the committee)
- 2.06 Accuracy in Service Billing and Reporting
- 4.01 Compliance with Supervision Requirements
- 4.04 Accountability in Supervision
- 4.06 Providing Supervision and Training
- 5.07 Soliciting Testimonials from Current Clients for Advertising
- A.R.S. 32-2091 12(e), and 32-2091 12(y)