Office of Regulations and Hearings

Office of Regulations and Hearings
California Department of Public Health, MS 0507
1501 Capitol Avenue, P.O. Box 997377
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377
Fax: (916) 440-5747
Re: DPH-05-010
To Whom It May Concern:
As a psychologist working directly with people who have mental disorders, I am pleased to write
in SUPPORT of the proposed regulations related to psychologists’ practice in health facilities.
The proposed regulations implement the legislature’s intent to provide patients in California
health facilities (a) the benefit of direct access to the full range of services offered by
psychologists and (b) the freedom to choose a psychologist to provide their care. The regulations
specifically amend improper, outdated regulations which have prevented psychologists from
working to the full extent of our scope of practice which includes the authority to admit, transfer,
discharge patients, and to order procedures related to our patients’ care. These regulations
finally recognize longstanding law which recognizes psychologists’ legal authority to direct
patient care and rehabilitate our patients.
The Supreme Court affirmed in CAPP v. Rank that both psychologists and psychiatrists could
diagnose patients with mental disorders and authorize the treatment plan for those patients,
without discrimination. The Court pointed to legislative intent which sought to “place
psychology and medicine on as equal a level as possible within the scope of their respective
licensures." The Court further wrote that “the Department's regulations, however, establish a
hospital hierarchy under which physicians outrank psychologists as to those functions for which
both are licensed and qualified.” Since the court’s decision, in numerous bi-partisan actions, the
State Legislature has mandated that psychologists be granted full clinical privileges to serve
patients in all health facilities.
The long history of delay on these proposed regulations has contributed to the well-documented
reports of poor patient care and civil rights violations in our state facilities. The new regulations
will provide broader treatment options and more cost efficient and higher quality patient care.
This is a long overdue, but important, step to providing quality care to some of our state’s most
vulnerable citizens.
I urge the adoption of these regulations. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions
you might have.