Psychologist fined over paperwork error in Amherst
AMHERST — An Amherst psychologist who serves as chair of the Amherst School Committee has come to an agreement with the state Board of Registration of Psychologists over what she terms minor paperwork errors from 2003.
Under the agreement, Katherine Appy has paid a $2,200 fine.
According to Appy, she failed to submit a Health Service Provider Certification form to the board, in part because she was under severe personal stress at the time, due to a separation preceding a divorce and a double mastectomy to treat breast cancer.
In a letter to School Committee members this week, Appy said she notified the board of the omission in 2010, as soon as she realized it.
In a phone interview Monday, Appy said that during the course of its investigation, the board found she had also failed to file a certificate showing she had completed continuing education credits required to maintain her license. Appy said she had already completed the requirements and immediately submitted the certificate.
“It has no bearing on my clinical work,” Appy said of the fine.
As she wrote to her colleagues on the School Committee: “The Board made clear that this was not a clinical issue, but that they take paperwork very seriously. ... I honestly believe this incident has no bearing on my professional integrity and the Board told me as much at the hearing. It was a stupid, temporary oversight and one I responded to with complete cooperation.”
“This is literally paperwork,” Appy said in the interview Monday.
A press release issued by the board Friday is ambiguous about the cause of the fine. It says the agreement resolves allegations that Appy “failed to complete continuing education credits required for licensure, and as a result, practiced without a valid license.”
However, Appy said she never practiced without a license. Further, she said the board told her she could and should continue to see patients during the investigation. “I have been a licensed clinical psychologist since 1990 and my license has never been revoked or suspended,” Appy wrote in her letter to the school board.