The Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Program in Texas is regulated by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). The program was transferred from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to HHSC as of September 1, 2017 pursuant to Texas Senate Bill 200.
Addiction counselors, or Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors (LCDCs), are licensed by the Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Program. An individual can earn their LCDC credential by completing specified requirements, including educational requirements, fulfilling a supervised experience requirement, and a satisfactory performance on the licensing examination. To be eligible for licensure as a LCDC, you must:
- complete and submit the required application form;
- meet the requirements to be a counselor intern;
- hold an associate degree or more advanced degree;
- complete 4,000 hours of approved supervised experience working with chemically dependent persons as described in the rules, 25 TAC §140.409 (relating to Standards for Supervised Work Experience);
- pass the written chemical dependency counselor examination approved by the department; and
- submit two letters of recommendation from LCDCs.
LCDC Scope of Practice
A Texas LCDC is licensed to provide chemical dependency counseling services involving the application of the principles, methods, and procedures of the chemical dependency profession. 25 Tex. Admin. Code §140.402(a).
Pursuant to Texas law, the scope of practice for an LCDC "includes services that address substance abuse/dependence and/or its impact on the service recipient subject to the following:
- the LCDC is prohibited from using techniques that exceed his or her professional competence;
- the service recipient may only be the user, family member or any other individual involved in a significant relationship with a user;
- the focus of an LCDC's services shall be on assisting individuals or groups to develop an understanding of chemical dependency problems, define goals, and plan action reflecting the individual's or group's interest, abilities, and needs, as affected by claimed or indicated chemical dependency problems; and
- LCDCs are not qualified to treat individuals with a mental health disorder or provide family counseling to individuals whose presenting problems do not include chemical dependency."
25 Tex. Admin. Code §140.402(b). A LCDC is not licensed to, and may not, provide services outside the scope of practice as defined above.
Complaints Against LCDCs
HHSC investigates complaints filed against LCDCs. A complaint may be filed be anyone, and may even be filed anonymously. Some complaints are investigated informally by HHSC staff, while others are investigated by trained HHSC investigators. Complaints against LCDCs may be investigated by telephone, mail, or personal interviews.
Once all information and documentation relevant to the complaint is collected, the report of investigation will be forwarded to the program for appropriate action. Under Texas law, the HHSC has the power to:
- Deny, refuse to issue, or refuse to renew a license, certification, or registration;
- Revoke or suspend a license, certification, or registration;
- Probate a suspension of a license, certification, or registration;
- Impose an administrative penalty against a person who violates the Act or a rule under this subchapter; or
- Issue a reprimand against the applicable license holder.
25 Tex. Admin. Code §140.426(c)(1)-(5). The fact is a single complaint against your LCDC license can put your career in jeopardy. If you've been notified of a complaint filed against your Chemical Dependency Counselor license in Texas, we urge you to consult with a medical license defense attorney immediately.
Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
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If you have received a licensing complaint, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We represent licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. Our honest, experienced attorneys will fight aggressively on behalf of your license and reputation.
Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.