Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a pair of bipartisan bills designed to increase access to mental health services in Michigan by expanding those services across state lines.
The bill package, House Bills 5488 and 5489, allows Michigan, which licenses its psychologists, to enter into the Psychological Interjurisdictional Compact. This provides temporary in-person services across jurisdictions and allows licensed psychologists to offer mental health services remotely outside of the state in which they are licensed.
House Bill 5489 sponsor Rep. Felicia Brabeck, D-Pittsfield Township, said in a statement that the legislation would help address the impact of the shortage of mental health care providers that Michiganders are feeling.
“It allows for continuity of care for clients, especially if clients move. It also allows underserved populations to have access to these much-needed resources,” Brabec said. “We have to continue to address the access issues.” This is one of the tolls we can bring in to address this growing problem.”
Brabeck said she is proud to have worked on the legislation with House Bill 5488’s sponsor, Rep. Brona Calle, R-Adrian, to help residents get the mental health services they need.
There are currently 31 states, Washington, DC and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands participating in the Psychological Interjurisdictional Compact. Florida, Massachusetts and New York have introduced similar hookup legislation.
Brittany Barber Garcia, a board-certified psychologist and president of the Michigan Psychological Association, said in a statement that she appreciates the support of lawmakers and Whitmer in achieving this milestone.
“Recent years have demonstrated the overwhelming need to create access to mental health care for Michigan residents, and given the increased convenience and access to telehealth services, approval of the Michigan (Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact) could not come at a more relevant or needed time.” , Garcia. he said. “This bill will allow psychologists to practice legally across state lines with appropriate legal, ethical and regulated practices and improve access to needed mental and behavioral health care for residents across the state.”
The legislation, which was introduced last October, received strong support in the state legislature and passed during several deadlocked sessions in early December. The two are among more than two dozen bills given the governor’s signature this month alone.
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