As of April 8, 2020, there are no federal provisions that allow mental health professionals to practice teletherapy over state lines; you must register or become licensed in your client’s state to provide teletherapy.
However, certain states have relaxed licensure requirements for the duration of the crisis. See below for updates on teletherapy status by state.
- Rhode Island has issued an expedited 90-day license: Beginning March 18, 2020, out-of-state licensees can receive a 90-day license to practice in Rhode Island by completing this application form and a statement verifying the license status from their home state; these can be mailed to: Center for Professional Licensing Room 104 3 Capitol Hill Providence, RI 02908-5097. This temporary license can be renewed one time, and there is no cost to obtain the license or the one-time renewal. For questions regarding this license please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Washington DC has temporarily waived licensure requirements for out-of-district providers who are providing a continuation of care for an individual who has returned to DC and who was previously in their care.
- New Jersey has allowed practitioners to apply for an expedited NJ license by completing this one-page form and sending it via email to email@example.com. The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General website indicates that your application will be reviewed and responded to within 24 hours.
- Connecticut suspended licensure/certification requirements for being an approved telehealth provider in CT to increase patient access to out-of-state telehealth providers. The Department of Public Health issued an order stating that the requirements for licensure, certification, and registration are all suspended for 60 days in CT.
- Illinois' Department of Financial and Professional Regulation interprets Governor Pritzker's Executive Order 2020-9 to mean that out-of-state providers may practice via telehealth to maintain a continuation of care with clients previously in their care: "The Department interprets Executive Order 2020-9 to permit an out-of-state health care provider not licensed in Illinois to continue to provide health care services to an Illinois patient via telehealth where there is a previously established provider/patient relationship. The Department deems such a provider to be 'authorized to practice in the State of Illinois' pursuant to Section 5 of the Executive Order without further need to obtain licensure in Illinois."
- Massachusetts has issued an order from the Commissioner of Public Health allowing out-of-state providers who "present to the corresponding Massachusetts licensing authority verification that such license is in good standing in that other State where it was issued shall forthwith be issued a corresponding Massachusetts license that shall remain valid during the state of emergency. All health care providers licensed under this provision may provide services within the scope of practice authorized by the license in such profession, both in-person in Massachusetts and across State lines into Massachusetts using telemedicine where appropriate." Fill out this application for an emergency temporary license to practice. The license will be valid during the state of emergency and for 90 days afterward.
Note: Although these changes have been announced, there may be some lag or discrepancy during implementation. Not all states consider mental health providers "healthcare providers" so make sure that your state, or the state you hope to practice in, includes your profession in their definition.
It may also be the case that a client will be required to connect with a local provider after a certain amount of time. It's always best to stay up-to-date and contact your licensing board if you have any doubts! This list of changes from the Association of American Medical Colleges is also a good reference. Some states may relax licensure rules for providers who will go in person to assist in the COVID-19 treatment effort, but these new rules may not apply to telehealth.
Coronavirus changes to licensure requirements for out-of-state providers
Many thanks to The Shrink Space for this helpful table!