Emergency Services Prescreener Qualifications FAQs

Commissioner Barber recently issued this communication regarding expanded qualifications and certification requirements for prescreeners.  

This FAQ page is designed to assist CSB/BHA Emergency Services departments and their staff in understanding the new qualifications and certification requirements.

If you would like to submit a question, please email Mike O'Connor at Michael.OConnor@dbhds.virginia.gov with the word "QUESTION" in the subject line of the email.

This page will be updated weekly until such time as it is no longer needed.

You can use ctrl+f to perform a key word search on this page.

Posted 09 JUN 2017

Are “hours” toward prescreener certification available for completing Part II of the required training for Certified Prescreening Clinicians?

Yes. DBHDS will credit Part II for four [4] hours. This can only be used once.

Where can I find the additional modules required for certification of Preadmission Screening Clinicians?

The training can be found here.  

It is entitled DBHDS 2016 Required Training for Pre-Admission Screening
Clinicians and Independent Evaluators Curriculum: Part II and is most easily found by entering “Preadmission” in the search box on the VLC site. 

There are five added modules, [#9-13] that are now required for certification. They cover Information Sharing, Capacity to Consent and related topics, Suicide Risk Assessment, Violence Risk Assessment and the Prescreening Assessment Form.  

Those currently certified or applying before July 1 must complete Part II of the training before September 1, 2017. As of that date completion of both Part I and Part II are required for certification. Those applying for certification after July 1 must have completed both Part I and Part II. 

Users must enroll in the curriculum to access the modules.  The modules are prerequisites of one another.  Therefore, as modules are completed accordingly, the next will open.  If users need assistance with the COVLC, they are to email Keiana Bobbitt  directly at keiana.bobbitt@dbhds.virginia.gov.  Selecting “Contact Us” on the COVLC website will route you to the Statewide Site Administrator.  Any other questions should be directed to Mary Begor mary.begor@dbhds.virginia.gov or Mike O’Connor michael.oconnor@dbhds.virginia.gov.  

The completion of Part II will provide staff with 4 hours of continuing education credit toward maintaining their certification. Part I provides 3 hours. This credit can only be applied once. 

Posted 09 AUG 2016

What is the deadline for completing Part I of the new training modules?

We have extended  the deadline to 9/1/16.

Posted 02 AUG 2016

What license must a supervisor possess to meet the new criteria?

Any license represented by those categories of Master’s degrees necessary to qualify as a precreener under the new rules. The most common licensees are Clinical Social Work, Professional Counseling, Clinical Psychology.  Physicians with a completed residency in Psychiatry and Clinical Nurse Specialists Psychiatric are also acceptable. A Bachelor’s level RN is not approved since the RN License is not specific to behavioral health.

Posted 29 JUN 2016

Will contact hours for recertification purposes be awarded for completion of the required modules?

Yes. The original 8 modules will be credited for 3 hours of continuing education. In this first cycle, they may be applied to the next recertification whenever they were taken. Once the final four modules are available we will assign them a value as well. 

Posted 20 APR 2016

The section that refers to the orientation items that need to be covered does not seem to really apply for current prescreeners. Does the Orientation Checklist have to be completed for those certified prior to 7/1/16. We will have the documentation of what was required when they were initially certified, which was (and still currently is) educational requirements, orientation to local resources, and completion of on-line modules. Will this suffice?
You are right. The form is not required for people certified prior to 7/1/16 and the documentation you cite is sufficient. 

Posted 19 APR 2016

The information that has been provided is somewhat confusing regarding requesting variances.  If a current employee is a certified prescreener either hired prior to 7/1/2008 or between 7/1/2008 and 7/1/2016, is a variance required if the employee does not meet the new enhanced educational criteria?  For example, a Master's degree that is not from a CACREP program, a Nurse that does not have a BSN, or a prescreener hired with a B.S. degree and certified prior to 7/1/2008.
There are three ways to obtain certification without a variance:  meet the new requirements or meet one of the two sets of conditions under the section on retaining experienced staff. The Application for Certification form allows you to select the appropriate option.  

Posted 18 APR 2016

We have our own orientation form that meets DBHDS requirements. May we use that instead of the form sent out by DBHDS?
No. We have tried to minimize requiring specific formats for recordkeeping, etc. but because the orientation is such an important activity, and the requirements are so extensive, we are requiring the use of this form. This will also eliminate the possibility that a reviewer will decide that a local form did not meet requirements. 

Posted 08 APR 2016

Where is the application for certification of prescreeners who are currently certified?  Will it be attached to the modules or is it separate?

All the forms related to this process have been sent out and are posted here.

Regarding the entire guidance: if a clinician is already licensed and prescreen certified, they need to reapply and take the new modules, but does the license override the requirements around education (particular masters degrees) at that point?

If they have an appropriate license they meet the educational requirements.

Page 1 of the Certification guidance includes a discreet list of masters degrees, which does not capture all of the license eligible degrees in Virginia or all the accrediting bodies for these programs.  As you know, there is wide variability here.  Do clinicians who do not have these specific Masters Degrees, but are license eligible need to submit to DBHDS for review?  Is there a way to more comprehensively address this and include more accrediting bodies and/or specific masters degrees?

The list of degrees are those that most easily meeting the various licensure requirements. Since different programs name their degrees differently a comprehensive list is not feasible. 

“If a Board Executive Director has evaluated the transcript and experience of a potential Preadmission Screening Clinician with a master’s degree other than one listed above that includes appropriate clinical training, a request may be submitted to DBHDS for review and a decision whether this requirement is met.” Of course, if they are enrolled for supervision or accepted to sit for a relevant licensure they automatically meet this requirement.

What topics/format should be used for the clinical supervision hours?

Clinical supervision can cover a variety of topics to promote professional growth, evaluate an employee’s work and assure quality.

We have not prescribed a format other than stating that a log of date and time will suffice. Most supervisors find it valuable to keep brief session notes but we are not requiring that.

What topics are considered relevant for the “relevant continuing education”?

Clinical topics that are relevant to the work of a mental health professional or crisis clinician, including ethics and cultural competency. It does not include purely administrative training.

What is the recommended format/process for chart reviews?

As the guidance from Commissioner Barber states, because Boards all have their own chart review protocols we have not specified a chart review format.

I was under the impression that the educational requirement was set at 16 hours every certification period, which for most will be 2 years. What is correct?

Dr. Barber’s guidance is correct. There is a requirement  for 16 hours of relevant continuing education per year. Most professional licensures require the equivalent of 15-20 hours per year. This is consistent with that.

Many of us have interpreted the 2008 regulations as pre-screeners must have a ‘masters leading to licensure’ – meaning that someone that had a master’s degree but needed to complete additional hours to become ‘licensed eligible’ – could work as a pre-screener.  Is this still a correct interpretation for someone hired prior to July 1, 2016?

Yes. It is not unusual for an appropriate degree holder to be told that they need a specific course before registering for supervision with a licensing board.

Can I as the ES Manager, hire a Licensed Certified Preadmissions Clinician with two years ES experience PRN to provide the necessary 12 hours of clinical supervision to my staff?  I would assume no, since that PRN does not have the authority to direct my full-time staff’s work?
Clinical supervision needs to be provided by someone who, in fact, is in a supervisory role on the agency. They can be full or part time but needs to have the agency sanction as a supervisor. It is not intended for one line level certified prescreener to supervise another.

Will “Supervisor” be added to the variance list on the Request for Variance from Prescreener Certification Requirements form that was circulated with your Feb 8 memo to the VACSB? 
The form requesting variance, found at the bottom of the linked page, includes this option. 

Can a supervisor granted a variance provide any of the 12 yearly hours required?

Yes, if they are granted a variance, they are qualified to perform the duties of a supervisor.

Must the required two years’ experience working in emergency services or with persons with serious mental illness for the supervisor be post-license attainment or can they be pre-license attainment?
This is not specified, so it can be either. 

Can you substitute two years working with Seriously Emotionally Disturbed for all or any part of the 2 years with the SMI?
No. This could only substitute if a variance is granted.

If you provide less than 12 hours of supervision, are you still exempt from your needing to receive 12 hours yourself?

These two requirements are unrelated and one has nothing to do with the other.

Is there a minimum number of allowable supervision minutes per session.  In other words, if I want to meet with my staff for 15 minutes/week for 4 times/month which would equal the 12 hours year, is that acceptable?
This has not been prescribed, be reasonable. The goal here is not to simply meet a requirement but to support staff and promote accountability and assure quality.

Posted 05 APR 2016

Does the process for retaining experienced staff also apply to supervisors? 
No. If there is a hardship reason for someone who does not meet the new supervisor requirements to be retained in the role of direct supervision of Certified Preadmission Screening Clinicians this could only be permitted through a variance. 

Do staff who were certified to do prescreenings prior to 7/1/16 need to go through orientation again?
Not as long as they completed whatever orientation was in place at the time they were hired.

Do certified preadmission screeners that work at more than one CSB need separate certifications for each.

Do certified preadmission screeners that work at more than one CSB need to receive the 12 hours of required clinical supervision from each CSB.
No, not for the purpose of certification. Each CSB is responsible, however,  for providing an adequate oversight of all the staff they employ. 

Can the amount of supervision be prorated for part time staff?
No. This is deemed the minimal amount of supervision to provide adequate support and oversight for this critical activity. 

Can supervision be conducted telephonically?
Yes, although CSB’s may find that group supervision is both more efficient and more valuable. 
Does supervision have to be one on one?
No. Group supervision often offers an even better learning environment. What is the most appropriate mode may differ between individuals.
Can on the spot supervision during evaluations count toward the supervisory requirement?
No. This type of interaction is extremely valuable and appropriate but is usually of very brief duration. 

An employee was hired under the rules put in place after 7/1/2008. They have a master’s degree that was accepted by the Professional Counseling Board provided he took a couple of additional courses. These course were taken but in the interim the Professional Counseling Board changed their stance and now refuses to consider a degree in clinical psychology. Will this person require a variance in order to be certified after 7/1/16?
No. If someone was properly certified at the time they were hired, and has been continuously employed as a prescreener, they fall under provisions to retain experienced staff.  

Can supervisors outside the emergency services program meet the requirements for providing the required clinical supervision?
Yes, but only if they meet the qualifications of a supervisor as defined in the new requirements.