Senate passes DiMario legislation allowing interstate compact for professional psychological services

 

STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) that would increase public access to professional psychological services by allowing for telepsychological practice across state lines as well as temporary in-person, face-to-face services in a state where the psychologist is not licensed to practice psychology.

The bill (2022-S 2605) would authorize the governor to enter into the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact and would designate an office to administer it. The act would also create an interstate agreement that would allow limited telepsychological practice to be conducted across state lines among member states.

Through passage of this legislation, we would be joining 33 other states to allow for telehealth services across state lines in participating states with a universal credential through the compact that maintains high standards of patient protection and care,” said Senator DiMario. “Without passage of this bill the temporary COVID waivers allowing this will expire at the end of June, which would leave many Rhode Islanders suddenly without access to their treatment and many providers having to end care for their out of state patients.

Requirements for receiving and maintaining licensure vary significantly across states. The Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact makes it easier for psychologists to practice telepsychology (providing services remotely) across the states within the compact, reducing burdens of maintaining multiple licenses across states.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 1 in 4 adults, or 60 million people, experience mental illness. With parts of the country experiencing a shortage of mental health professionals, state lawmakers have been working to reduce the barriers providers face in obtaining a license to practice in order to bring mental health services to areas of the country with mental health professional shortages.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2022-H 7501) has been introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston).       

          

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