Legislative Activitiy

February 2011: Victory in Florida

The ACHE and many of our members have been actively involved in working to stop severely restrictive legislation in Florida. The bill has just been withdrawn! This happened surprisingly easily and very rapidly, considering the many months and various stages that are frequently involved in legislative battles.

We wish to thank all of those within and outside of the ACHE who took action and helped achieve this resounding success. We must remain vigilant, since there are currently plans for further attempts at very restrictive legislation within the United States. The earlier we can eliminate any restrictive bill, the better.

Urgent Notice With September 14 Deadline: We Need Another Victory

September 7, 2010

Most of our legislative work is done quietly in the background, or may include focused contact with a limited group of hypnotherapists. Part of our current work is to help with the crisis for California hypnotherapy (and other vocational) schools. This is so important that we are now reaching out to our membership, hypnotherapists and the general public for support.

Our legislative work is usually directly for the benefit of hypnotherapists. In this case it’s specifically about protecting legitimate licensed schools, which of course are key to continuing to improve hypnotherapy standards.

Assembly Bill 48 went into effect this year, creating a new agency and laws in California for the regulation of vocational schools. The new B.P.P.E. is currently trying to apply additional “emergency regulations,” some of which involve costs and requirements that are extremely harsh and inappropriate for smaller schools, treating them in some ways like large multi-state corporations. Below is the update that was sent out this week to California school operators and others, along with the A.C.H.E. letter sent to the B.P.P.E. We request that you send a letter by September 14 and pass this information on. Thank you.

Letter to Schools in California, Concerned Hypnotherapists and Consumers

This is an update to the email we sent three weeks ago. To review, up until July 28, Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education representatives stated that both re-approval applications and annual financial statements would require audits per their new emergency regulations. Because of our challenges to the latter requirement they backed off and have accepted that annual statements won’t require audits. That was a big victory, but they kept the text to require audited financial statements with each re-approval process.

During the August public input period we focused our letters on removing the audited re-approval requirement. We’re pleased that in this latest round, our A.C.H.E. letter was used again as an informational guide and a sample letter for many schools and individuals outside of the A.C.H.E. (including for other vocations), and this time our information and letter was even disseminated by organizations of schools. We’re getting the word out and making a difference.

The B.P.P.E. has released it’s updated Modified Text. We’re pleased to report another major breakthrough. The audit is no longer being required for re-approvals. However, now they are requiring a review by an accounting firm. While not nearly as bad as an audit, such a requirement is utterly unnecessary. It would be very time-consuming and prohibitively expensive for smaller schools, costing up to $5500. This would be on top of the skyrocketing fees for smaller schools just implemented by SB 48.

We are now being given a limited opportunity for public feedback about the newest modified regulations that they’ve just released. The BPPE needs to receive your comments by Tueday, September 14 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

We are once again providing the letter below for more details, and for the option to use as a model for your own letter. The issues have simplified this round, so this letter is considerably briefer than the previous ones. Besides getting the word out again to many other schools for action and dissemination, we are also bringing this crisis to the attention of the A.C.H.E. membership.

Please email directly to Joanne Wenzel at joanne.wenzel@dca.ca.gov or fax to her attention at (916) 574-8646. Since the B.P.P.E. has released additional modified regulations about other issues within the last week, please clearly reference the “Modified Regulations announced 8/30/10,” such as was done in the official A.C.H.E. letter. If you are emailing, have your letter within the email (not as an attachment).

Please email or fax your letters in time, and promptly pass on this info to any others who may want to write as well. For those of us in California, it would be effective to also contact your State Senator and Assemblyperson by phone, email or fax. We need to do everything we can to avoid the considerable time, hassle and expense of reviewed financial statements.

For us to have maximum leverage, it would be helpful if you send a copy of your correspondence to either A.C.H.E. HQ: hypnotismla@earthlink.net or fax: (818) 247-9379 or Randal Churchill: churchill@hypnotherapy.com or fax (707) 569-9599. Thank you.

Letter to B.P.P.E.

September 7, 2010

Joanne Wenzel
Department of Consumer Affairs for
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
1625 North Market Blvd., Suite S-202
Sacramento, CA 95834

re: Modified Regulations announced 8/30/10

Dear Ms. Wenzel,

I am writing this letter because of our great concerns about the proposed rules in the Modified Regulations announced 8/30/10 to require reviewed financial statements for re-approval for smaller schools. I wrote my previous letters to you as past President of the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners, a California non-profit organization that is dedicated to setting and maintaining high standards in our profession. Beginning today, I am again A.C.H.E. President, as well as being Director of a BPPE-approved school, the Hypnotherapy Training Institute, I am writing on behalf of all 11 schools in California that are ACHE members as well as BPPE-approved. Our grave concerns about proposed review requirements are shared by the smaller vocational schools throughout the state.

AB 48 Proposed Modified Regulations Section 71240(b) requires that schools have reviewed financial statements for approval. AB 48 Proposed Modified Regulations Section 71475(e) requires that schools making under $500k annual gross revenues have reviewed financial statements for re-approval. For approval and re-approval, the BPPVE previously allowed schools collecting under $750,000 in annual student charges to submit financial statements done in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, which costs around $500. Each review required by the proposed Modification Regulation would cost up to $5500. On top of huge fee increases for small schools added by AB 48, reviewed financial statements would add a great burden for the smaller schools. For schools with annual revenues below $750k, we request a return of Section 71240(b) and Section 71475(e) to the pre-sunset rules.

The Office of Administrative Law requires that all of the proposed Modified Regulations are necessary, but no necessity has been established for such extreme new requirements for smaller schools. As it is, the smaller schools are now faced with further regulatory requirements and surging increases of fees (such as re-approval fees) imposed by AB 48. This is above and beyond the current extraordinarily difficult economy. By preventing implementation of these unnecessary and prohibitively expensive reviews, we will avoid major added burdens and the tragedy of many school closures. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Randal Churchill
President, American Council of Hypnotist Examiners

The Law For California Hypnotherapists

We are keeping the following letter and links here because we continue to get questions occasionally about the law in California, including from hypnotherapists moving into that state.

New Law For California Hypnotherapists

Dear Colleagues,
For many years, California has had restrictive laws concerning virtually any issue that could be remotely related to medical practice. Many complementary healing practitioners have been in technical violation of California’s Medical Practices acts, but there were not sufficient funds to prosecute alternative practitioners except in extreme cases of violation of the Act. However, with the medical establishment’s awareness of the increase of major advertising abuses, new State funds have recently been appropriated to prosecute alternative practitioners. Common abuses have included: massage therapists who claim state licensure and hypnotherapists who claim medical and dental certification or affiliation. In addition, attempts were underway to develop further restrictive legislation.

Here is the good news. The ACHE has joined forces with many complementary practitioners who developed alliances to transform this attempted negative legislation into landmark legislation that is very positive with the recent passage of Senate Bill 577.

In SB577, the Legislature declares that millions of Californians are presently utilizing complementary health care services, and that in spite of the possible technical violations of the Medical Practices Act there is no demonstration that these practices are harmful. The basis of the new law is simple: anyone who is otherwise law-abiding and does not perform a listed set of potentially dangerous practices should not be considered in violation of the Medical Practices Act.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2003. Starting at that time, those therapists who are not licensed in the healing arts are required to have new clients read and sign a disclosure form. The client receives a copy and the therapist is required to keep the signed copy for three years. The disclosure must include a statement that the therapist is not a licensed physician, that the session is complementary to healing arts services licensed by the state, and that the therapist’s services are not licensed by the state. Therapist must describe the theory upon which the services are based, the nature of the services, and therapist’s education, training, and experience. See sample disclosure which ACHE has developed to provide this information in a positive, effective and professional way.

A significant aspect of the law is that those who are non-licensed must disclose in their advertising that they are not licensed by the state as a healing arts practitioners. We can elaborate on this issue in our literature by making the following statement:

“Hypnotherapy is a self-regulated profession and does not qualify for State licensing. The American Council Of Hypnotist Examiners is a non-profit professional organization, chartered by the State of California, to establish training standards, standards of professional practice, and a code of ethics. The ACHE’s Ethics Committee can suspend or revoke certification. Certification is awarded to those who attend ACHE approved schools, with ACHE approved hypnotherapy instuctors. Although the state does not regulate curriculum or a required number of hours of training, the American Council of Hypnotism Examiners has the highest requirements for certification of any major Hypnotherapy organization in the USA. The ACHE logo is the Hallmark of Quality for the Hypnotherapy profession. Be sure to look for it.”

The new law is a major step forward in the legal recognition of hypnotherapy and other complementary healing arts practices. California is one of the first states to develop such a law, and we predict many other states will enact similar laws in the years ahead.

With respect to all,
Gil Boyne, Founder, ACHE
Randal Churchill, President, ACHE