3 Big Challenges at the Oklahoma Board of Behavioral Health

Posted By: Hayley Twyman Brack Licensure Board Updates,

A board room table lined with cream chairs. A notebook sits on the table

Pictured above: A board room table lined with cream chairs. A therapy notebook sits on the table 

As the renewal period for licensed professional counselors in Oklahoma draws nearer, many therapists have been reaching out to the licensing board for questions and concerns about the renewal process and may have found communication with the administrative staff to be less responsive than what is usual. A representative from the Oklahoma Counseling Institute attended the Board’s meeting on June 11th for more information and updates. According to Eric Ashmore, the Board of Behavioral Health has experienced a series of challenges over the past few months, including...

Staff Shortages
In the board meeting, Mr. Ashmore reported that the administrative office has experienced a significant labor shortage due to resignations, including those of Diana Foster and Brianna Coker, and difficulty in filling the positions. Mr. Ashmore reported that a technical issue in the job applicant portal combined with former administrative professionals fulfilling their notices before new applicants were hired has led to a shortage of staff and increased stress on those who remain in the office. Along with the staff shortage, it was reported that due to the volume of calls the administrative office has received over the last few weeks that at some points the phone system has shut down, thus making it more difficult for the staff to return calls and messages.

Increased Applications
Mr. Ashmore also discussed a recent increase in workload for the members of the administrative staff. According to a report given at the board meeting, applications for candidacy in May of 2021 increased 118% compared to last year, making it the largest candidacy application pool in the history of the Board of Behavioral Health. Mr. Ashmore also reported that more candidates than ever are completing the licensure process, which has led to an increase in workload.

Technical Difficulties
Last, Mr. Ashmore reported that the rollout of the new online license renewal portal has not been without difficulty. According to his report, challenges in communicating technical problems with the website developers combined with errors in importing data from the previous website have led to barriers to a smooth implementation of the new portal. Mr. Ashmore stated he has also been informing therapists who are accessing the licensure renewal portal for the first time that email addresses are case sensitive.

So How Can Our Questions Be Answered?
In order to receive answers for questions professionals may have as the license renewal deadline draws nearer, Mr. Ashmore recommended reviewing the Important Updates as well as the information on continuing education requirements and license-specific acts and regulations posted on the Board of Behavioral Health website. Mr. Ashmore also reminded meeting attendees that all therapists licensed by the Board of Behavioral Health may access the licensure renewal portal by logging into the site with the email address they have on file with the Board. If professionals have any questions that are unanswered by the Board’s website, contacting Info.BehavioralHealth@bbhl.ok.gov would be the best address to contact to make sure questions are directed properly. Therapists may also find OCI’s guide to completing online license renewal helpful in navigating changes in the renewal process.