State Beat: Practicing across state lines

Colorado and Nebraska adopt Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact laws to facilitate interstate practice.

By Hannah Calkins

The Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT), a cooperative agreement meant to facilitate telehealth and temporary psychology practice across state lines (PDF, 1.13MB), is nearing the seven-state threshold it needs to become operational.

Colorado and Nebraska recently became the fourth and fifth states to put PSYPACT on the books, and several other states are far along in the process, said Alex Siegel, JD, PhD, who is the director of professional affairs at the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). He’s optimistic that that the compact will take effect by the end of this year.

“Additionally, several more jurisdictions have indicated interest in pursuing PSYPACT next year, so we may have another five or six member states by the end of 2019,” Siegel said.

Psychologists led the way in Colorado and Nebraska

Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., signed the PSYPACT bill, HB18-1017, into law on April 12. Julie Jacobs, PsyD, JD, who chairs the legislative committee for the Colorado Psychological Association, worked closely with a lobbyist to mobilize advocates and gain support from legislators. She says state Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-30, was their key ally.

“Our main opposition came from legislators who have blanket opposition to any and all regulation, although we surprisingly were able to get one expected ‘no’ vote to support the bill in committee and on the floor,” Jacobs said.

In Nebraska, LB1034 sailed through the state’s unicameral legislature during its most recent session with no opposition. Gov. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., signed it on April 23.

Daniel Ullman, PhD, of the Nebraska Psychological Association, organized the association’s efforts to get the bill passed. State Sen. Carol Blood, D-3, sponsored the bill, which eventually was added to a larger piece of legislation.

“It was my job to develop grassroots support from constituents of senators, secure persuasive testimony, and help get the bill prioritized by a key senator,” Ullman said.

He added that having Sen. Blood as a champion of the bill was an essential factor in their success, along with support from ASPPB.

Information, resources, and calls to action

PSYPACT was developed by ASPPB and is supported by APA and the Practice Organization. It gives psychologists a way to provide ethical and regulated psychological services across state lines, whether that’s in-person on a temporary basis, or via telecommunication technologies.

ASPPB has developed a website dedicated to PSYPACT with resources for psychologists. There you can review the compact’s history, track its progress and download toolkits to help you take action in your state. Visit PSYPACT for more information.