New compact would govern temporary practice across state lines and telehealth

PSYPACT needs approval from legislatures in at least seven states to take effect.

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) introduced in February an interstate compact known as the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT). In ASPPB’s press release announcing PSYPACT, Chief Executive Officer Steve DeMers, EdD, described it as “a reasonable yet responsible way for qualified licensed psychologists to offer services across state lines for temporary practice or practice using telecommunications technology.” 

An interstate compact is a statutory and contractual agreement among states for a specific, limited purpose. In order for the PSYPACT to take effect, legislatures in at least seven states must approve the model language without modification. 

According to ASPPB Director of Professional Affairs Alex Siegel, JD, PhD, the portion of PSYPACT related to telepsychology is intended to facilitate practice across state lines. Once operational in a state, the PSYPACT would take precedence over any psychology practice act provisions related to interjurisdictional practice, including telepsychology. 

Psychology licensing laws now on the books vary in the number of days per year they may allow a licensed psychologists from another state to practice temporarily in states where they are not licensed. Further, the laws also differ as to whether the psychologist must obtain psychology board approval in advance for temporary practice. By contrast, PSYPACT would standardize the time permitted — 30 days maximum per calendar year — for licensed psychologists in good standing from a state participating in PSYPACT to practice in-person, temporarily in all other states that are parties to the compact.

Existing state laws and regulations would still pertain to the delivery of psychological services within a state. 

ASPPB is seeking the American Psychological Association’s endorsement of the PSYPACT, while also collaborating with state licensing boards, the Council of State Governments and the National Governors Association with the goal of stimulating necessary state legislative action. 

PSYPACT would only pertain to participating states in the United States. According to Siegel, Canada is exploring a parallel process. 

We will keep members of apprised of important developments related to consideration and adoption of the PSYPACT. 

Additional information about PSYPACT is available on the ASPPB website.