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Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced that Rhode Island has joined the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT), which will expand treatment options for people in need of care from a psychologist.
Properly credentialed psychologists licensed and located in any of the other 39 PsyPact states can now apply to provide telepsychology services and/or conduct temporary in-person, face-to-face sessions with patients in Rhode Island.
In addition, properly credentialed psychologists licensed in Rhode Island can now apply to practice telepsychology and/or conduct temporary in-person, face-to-face practice in any of the other PSYPACT states.
In both scenarios, the psychologist from another state must practice under Rhode Island’s rules and regulations. “In order to address the growing need to expand treatment options for people in need of psychological care, we are fortunate here in Rhode Island to have joined the PSYPACT along with 39 other states,” said Governor McKee. “This is a compact that will benefit all Rhode Islanders and I am proud to have our state join to address critical health issues.”
“This partnership will expand treatment options for people in need of care from a psychologist,” said Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Richard Charest. “This alignment supports one of the three pillars of the Governor McKee’s Rhode Island 2030 plan – where we are working together to create a healthier Rhode Island where we reduce chronic illness and improve health outcomes.”“
By joining PSYPACT, Rhode Island is increasing access to much-needed, high-quality mental health services for people across the state,” said Interim Director of Health Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH. “From a logistics perspective, this will also make it feasible for Rhode Island patients who leave the state for school, vacation, or relocation to continue treatment with their Rhode Island provider, so long as their psychologist is authorized under PSYPACT.”
When choosing a psychologist, patients are reminded to verify that the practitioner is either licensed in Rhode Island or credentialed under PSYPACT. Patients with questions about insurance coverage for psychologists who are enrolled in PsyPact should contact their insurer directly.
RI psychologists can enroll in PsyPact for their practices
Rhode Island-licensed psychologists who want to enroll in PsyPact can do so online at PSYPACT.org. To provide telepsychology services in other PSYPACT states, the initial fee is $440 and must be renewed annually, subject to a renewal fee of $100 and three hours of continuing education relevant to the use of technology in psychology. To conduct temporary, in-person, face-to-face practice in PSYPACT states the initial fee is $240 and must be renewed annually, subject to a renewal fee of $50.
New England states enrolled in PsyPact include Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. From Rhode Island, Peter Oppenheimer serves on PsyPact’s Requirements Review Committee.
Researching providers and finding the right match may take some time as a readily available database by specialty was cumbersome to use and finding professionals open to new patients, and insurance issues are all matters that may take awhile to set up with this new service in RI.
From the American Psychological Association
Use of remote technologies for therapy (such as phone, videoconferencing, and apps) is growing.
A combination of factors has helped drive this growth in the number of participating states. For one, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many patients to relocate beyond the reach of their psychologists’ licenses at a time when mental health needs—whether new or ongoing—were soaring. Many college students returned to their hometowns to take classes virtually, for example, and some families retreated to second homes with more space in rural areas. Plus, legislators have become increasingly familiar not just with telehealth but with the idea of interjurisdictional compacts as other professions have started introducing legislation of their own. Occupational therapists, audiologists and speech therapists, counselors, and teachers are working on compacts, too.
Psypact won’t just help psychologists continue to serve patients in bordering states, it also helps ensure that patients can have access to the services they need, whether it’s specialty services or simply a psychologist who shares their language or racial or ethnic background.
Specialists in one state can now access patients in lots of other states and, eventually the whole country. An individual in a state with a shortage of psychologists might seek care from a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders or obsessive compulsive disorder, for example.
This is fine but the group providing the highest percentage of outpatient behavioral health services to Rhode Islanders is Licensed Clinical Social Workers! When will the legislation include them? This is critical.
Good point but not sure that would happen – tight credentialing to do this even as a psychologist
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