Senate approves Kahle’s plan to improve patient access to telepsychology amid mental health care worker shortage
RELEASE|December 8, 2022

The state Senate has approved Rep. Bronna Kahle’s bipartisan plan to address the state’s shortage of mental health workers and patients’ need for increased access to telepsychology by entering Michigan into the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT).

An interstate compact is a contract between two or more states that establishes a legal relationship among them to address common problems. The PSYPACT was developed in 2015 to increase patient access to behavioral health care by allowing licensed psychologists to practice telepsychology and temporary in-person services across state lines.

Michigan psychologists must currently be licensed in each state to offer telepsychology services to patients in other states, but Kahle’s plan would change that by entering the state into the compact.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the shortages of health care workers across the country,” said Kahle, who chairs the House Health Policy Committee. “The PSYPACT is an opportunity to address that shortage in the mental health field, providing continuity of care between states, and providing Michigan patients with the benefit of increased psychiatric telehealth services.”

With the increased shift towards expanding telemedicine, the practice of telepsychology is viewed as a way for psychologists to deliver timely and effective interventions, including for populations that may currently be underserved due to their rural location, lack of available psychologists, or existing stigma to seeking behavioral health care.

Kahle (R-Adrian) said the compact would address these barriers by allowing licensed psychologists to practice telepsychology and conduct temporary in-person, face-to-face practice across state lines without having to become licensed in other PSYPACT states. Currently, 27 states have enacted legislation to join the PSYPACT.

Senate Bill 758, which also aimed to join the compact, was overwhelmingly approved in December of 2020 with broad bipartisan support. However, the bill was vetoed by Gov. Whitmer shortly after.

Kahle’s House Bill 5488, and its companion bill, HB 5489, sponsored by Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township) now moves to be considered by the governor for state law.


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