Blog

 
     

Alaska Moves to Mandate Background Checks for Psychologists

By Michael Klazema on 2/21/2015

There may soon be a new law on the books in Alaska, requiring all professional psychologists working in the state to undergo a background check. According to a report from the Associated Press, the Alaska legislature is considering a bill that would make background checks a mandatory component of the licensing process.

It might surprise some people to hear that not all practicing psychologists do have go through background checks to obtain a license. After all, most states require doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to go through criminal screening processes prior to being allowed to practice. These policies are in place to protect the safety and well being of patients, as well as to ensure a doctor-patient relationship that can be based on trust.

But while a relationship between a psychologist and a patient is absolutely one where trust is key, Alaska laws don't currently require practicing psychologists to face background checks. That's contrary to the desires of the state Board of Psychologists and Psychological Associate Examiners, though. Indeed, one board member interviewed by the Associated Press said that the board has been working for "several years" to make criminal background checks a standard part of the licensing process. So far, they've come up empty. That's because the Alaska Board of Psychologists and Psychological Associate Examiners isn't completely in charge of how psychologists get licensed in the state. In order to conduct background checks on applicants, the board needs state approval. In other words, the board needs the state legislature to pass a law expressly calling for background checks to be added to the licensing process.

From the looks of it, though, the board's wishes could finally be coming to fruition. A new bill currently working its way through the legislature would finally make psychologist background checks a reality in Alaska. The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee recently reviewed the bill and approved it for consideration by the full Senate. If passed, this new law would bring a much-needed overhaul to a system that has far too much potential for failure. The current system for licensing psychologists to practice in Alaska relies primarily on an honor system, asking applicants to disclose their criminal history. Alaska also checks a psychologist's license in other states, to make sure the practitioner is in good standing

Sources:

http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/background-checks-proposed-for-alaska-psychologists/31336088

Industry News
  Alaska

Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.


  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.


  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.