Psypact for SD Psychologists

It is important to note that the Mental Health of First Responders Task Force is putting forth legislation to pass the PsyPact in SD during this legislative session. Part of the driving force is how to best serve our state residents that need mental health services as well as First Responders. This movement also may be especially important during Covid and making sure we are providing mental health care to those who need it. The shortage of mental health providers seems to be the driving force behind the current legislative bills regarding Psypact being proposed.
 Please fill out the short anonymous survey at the bottom to help us gauge what direction is important to follow about advocating for Psypact 
This is a link to the actual December 10, 2020 meeting minutes of the Health of First Responders Task Force, if anyone would like to listen themselves – they address PSYPACT from the start and for the first 50 minutes. 12/10/2020 Health of First Responders Task Force   What isPsypact?  Psypact helps with access to care, continuity of care, and creates a more legal/ ethical way to provide services from one state to another.  Psypact helps at this time with covid due to difficulties with traveling college or other folks (ie military). There is concern about who is providing services to our folks in South Dakota with ie Better Help, Talk Space..etc. Psypact is a way to really track who is practicing in the state. Now, there is no way to track who is providing services and track it or monitor it.   Please see the website for more information about psypact.  https://psypact.org/page/GovernanceDocuments  The psychology board is reviewing Psypact and looking through different options (a regional pact or more of a national pact). The regional one (IE Montana, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa) allows for several states usually surrounding states to make a pact to cross state boundaries and be able to practice psychology through telepsych or also in person if necessary. This regional one would allow for the money accumulated to go more to the states doing it (SD would get more money with a regional pact). The more national one would be making a pact with other states and the money then goes to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).   However, it is important to note that the psyche board is continuing to discuss the pros/ cons within the board itself.  Here is a good article outlining the bills likely to drop as a result of the Heath of First Responders most recent meeting: Mental Health of First Responders Task Force to introduce three bills There are currently 15 states who have already passed the PsyPact (National) so Arizona, Utah, Nebraska, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia, and New Hampshire. I am unsure with the more regional compacts how many? There is12 to 15 states who are re-introducing legislation currently for psypact.  PsyPact went live on July 1 which means that it is operational. This means if I am a psychologist in Nebraska and want to see someone in Colorado I can do this with an e-passport (a certificate you need to provide services under the compact. Most recently there were 3,500 psychologists applying for the passport. The commission is up and running and the delegates from each state (15) run the psypact, they make the rules, etc. There is now a way that the funding gets paid to be involved with psypact, which makes it substantially cheaper. Those that want to participate often do end up paying this fee. Other psychologists that do not want involvement in the Psypac do not have to pay the fee.   There also is more ability to perform our job and service other states without any type of billing issues with the psypact. I have patients in Nebraska and Wyoming that have come to see me over the years and it would make it much easier to serve them. In addition, with the rural areas being underserved this is a way to help out.  Medicine, Nursing, PT, EMT, and Psychology are the only health care professionals to have compacts as I understand now. The military folks like the idea of having the compact due to the transfer of the military folks all over the place. CSG Council on State Government is also behind these compacts due to liking more access to care. To my knowledge, the social worker and also counselors do not have a pact but are working in that direction.    Pros: 
1)  Increased flexibility to individual providers to follow patients longer-term due to a move or vacation out of state.  Provides for better continuity of care.  This would especially be the case if we join Psypact vs. just a regional compact. 
2)  Improved access for mental health services, specifically for certain specialty areas.  This provides benefits to all of our residents, especially those in rural areas. 
3)  Psypact is gaining momentum and will likely continue to add states.  If we do not participate, will be this a disincentive to psychologists to practice here, especially early career psychologists who may want this option.  This could lower our numbers of licensed psychologists in the state which will impact funding for our Board. 
1)  Additional cost to obtain an “e-passport” and maintenance fees for this.
2) Potential liability for our state board, which may result in a need for increased fees to cover potential investigations.  Where you are licensed at, that is the state that does the disciplinary issues if in trouble with the board.  3)  Other practitioners potentially coming into our state, (although via telehealth) to provide services. Of course, this is a concern for us in South Dakota. However, in some way, this is already happening with “Better Help” and other companies like “Talk Space” that already have figured out how to navigate telemedicine and the licensing rules/ regulations.  Would this lead to cherry-picking of individuals with “good insurance?”  Perhaps.  Will there still be plenty of people that will opt for in-person, local services?   Please fill out the short survey to help us gauge what direction is important to follow about advocating for psychology in SD. No matter what the response, I believe it is important to propose a viable solution for the current concerns driving the need for psychological services for our citizens as well as our First Responders in South Dakota.  Sincerely,  Kari Scovel PhDPublic Education Coordinator for SDPAPresident of Division 1
THANK YOU, on behalf of the South Dakota Psychological Association and South Dakota Licensure Board of Examiners

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