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Advocacy SB67 Feb 2020

February 3, 2020

House panel approves bill to increase access to psychology services.

By Robert Swift
Staff Writer

HARRISBURG (Feb. 3)– A Senate-passed bill intended to ease shortages in consumer access to psychology services won unanimous approval Monday from a House committee.

Senate Bill 67 would allow psychologists from other states to practice through telecommunications with patients in Pennsylvania under the auspices of an interstate compact. The bill now goes to the House floor.

The bill clearing the House Professional Licensure Committee paves the way for Pennsylvania to join the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact, a reciprocal arrangement underway among 12 states to allow this type of service delivery.

Current state law prohibits psychologists from serving patients across state boundaries. And different state licensure laws make it difficult for psychologists to get a license to practice in other states, said bill supporters.

Joining the compact will remove some of those barriers, said Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair, the bill sponsor.

The bill surfaces at a time when licensed psychologists are in short supply, especially in rural areas.

SB67 is “especially important to rural districts like mine where access to psychological services is extremely limited due to a lack of providers,” said Ward.

Under the compact, licensed psychologists can apply for certifications to practice in the compact states. The compact is overseen by a commission composed of representatives from member states which sets rules that have the force of law and are binding in all compact states.