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Beach/Madden Bill Criminalizing the Unlicensed Practice of Psychology, Chiropractic, Social Work and Psychoanalysis Signed Into Law

Law Would Crack Down On Therapeutic Treatments by Unlicensed Individuals

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Beach and Senator Fred Madden that would make it a third degree crime to practice psychology, chiropractic, social work, or psychoanalysis without the appropriate license or certification received was today signed into law.

“This law is about protecting patients. We have taken many steps to crack down on the unlicensed practice of medicine in this state,” said Senator Beach (D-Camden, Burlington). “Today, we have gone further in protecting patients by ensuring that those receiving mental or therapeutic care are receiving such services from a fully-licensed practitioner.”

“Unquestionably, anyone who tries to represent themselves as a professional practitioner, without proper credentials, is doing a disservice to those who have trained and met the criteria needed to practice. They are also posing a risk to patients seeking help from legitimate licensed practitioners,” said Senator Madden (D-Gloucester, Camden.) “With this new law, we are taking steps to protect residents from scam artists trying to sell themselves as professionals.”

The bill, S-2543/A-732, makes it a third degree crime if a person knowingly does not possess a license to practice psychology, chiropractic, or social work, or knowingly has had such a license suspended, revoked, or otherwise limited, and he or she: engages in the practice or any activity for which the license is a necessary requisite; exceeds the scope of the practice permitted by an order enacted by the State Board of Psychological Examiners; or falsely represents oneself to the public as a person being eligible to engage in the practice.

Provisions of the law would also apply to a person who fraudulently holds himself or herself as being a state certified psychoanalyst, practices psychoanalysis under a false or assumed name, or falsely impersonates another person who is a state certified psychoanalyst.

Currently, it is a crime of the third degree to practice medicine or podiatric medicine, dentistry, or acupuncture without a license. The law adds the unlicensed practice of psychology, chiropractic, and social work, and the uncertified practice of psychotherapy to that list. A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years or a fine of up to $15,000 or both.

The law is effective immediately.