cartoon of Freud psychoanalyzing brain on couch since telemental health isn't available yet

Telemental Health Crosses State Lines

Over the last several years, the growth of the telemedicine industry and its elimination of geographic barriers have highlighted the impracticality of requiring medical care providers to be licensed in every single state in which their patients live. To overcome this expensive and time-consuming administrative work, several states have banded together to create licensure compacts in which the participating states recognize each other’s medical licenses as being valid within their borders. Perhaps the most well-known agreement is the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) for physicians, although other types of medical providers have formed interstate bonds as well. Now, telemental health is about to receive a boost in popularity: The Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) is almost ready to go live.

Passed in 2015, PSYPACT, developed for psychologists by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), needed seven states on board before it could go live. Currently, the accord has eight member states, with another eight considering legislation to join. The activation date has been delayed until early 2020, as Illinois’ law does not take effect until then. Providers cannot apply for credentialing just yet—a commission comprised of representatives from each state has yet to finalize bylaws and rules for the compact. Mental health providers on college campuses are especially welcoming of the new strategy since it eliminates the need for students to travel out of state just to receive medical care.

PSYPACT is expected to standardize licensing requirements across states and increase access to psychological services, as explained by ASPPB President Dr. Gerald O’Brien. Once the system is operational, psychologists will be able to apply for the ASPPB E.Passport Certificate for telepsychology or an Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate for temporary practice.

Overall, telemental health has already been well-received by patients, as have other forms of telemedicine. With busy, fast-paced schedules, patients especially appreciate the convenience of telemedicine. By creating compacts such as PSYPACT and IMLC, health care providers and their associations can offer high-quality care to more patients than ever before and at the patients’ convenience. When telemedicine makes it this easy to meet with a provider, reluctant patients will have to think of new excuses to avoid seeing the doctor.

To read more about PSYPACT, visit CTeL here or mHealthIntelligence here.

To learn more about PSYPACT, including how to apply for an ASPPB certificate, see the ASPPB website here.

To learn more about IMLC, head to their webpage here.

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