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PSYPACT Allows for TelePsychology Across State Lines

PSYPACT Allows for TelePsychology Across State Lines

The Psychological Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) was approved in 2015 by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board (ASPPB – the alliance of psychology boards in the US and Canada). By definition, a compact is an interstate agreement allowing states to enact legislation and enter a contract for a specific, limited purpose or to address a particular policy issue. One of the greatest advantages of any interstate compact is establishing a solution that uniformly addresses multi-state issues.

One disadvantage to a compact is the time it takes to develop and implement, in that participating jurisdictions are required to meet a high level of uniformity, which often involves a certain degree of loss of sovereignty. (For example, a requirement for participants in a compact may supersede those of the participant’s own state requirements.)

As mentioned before, PSYPACT was approved in 2015 by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board. The “particular policy issue” in this case has been to “facilitate telehealth and temporary in-person, face-to-face practice of psychology across jurisdictional boundaries.” 

The process for bringing PSYPACT to full actualization includes:

  • Seven states officially enact the PSYPACT legislation, at which point the compact is operational. (This threshold occurred in April, 2019.)
  • Establishing a commission that holds the responsibility of creating Bylaws and Rules.
  • Opening an application process for both the E.Passport and the Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate.

As of November 2019, the eleven states that have enacted PSYPACT are Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. In addition, Illinois enacted legislation which will become effective January 1, 2020. Four jurisdictions are pending PSYPACT legislation: District of Columbia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

PSYPACT provides many advantages to both consumers and providers alike. It allows licensed psychologists to provide continuity of care to their clients who relocate (temporarily or permanently). Consumers who have been previously underserved with limited local specialists and/or those who are isolated geographically will find services available with greater ease and flexibility. Jurisdictions will have a defined process for “guest” psychologists (i.e., those who do not hold a license in that region) who provide teleservices in their region and/or conduct temporary face-to-face practice. Operating under PSYPACT is an indication that providers are acting under the rules and regulations of standards and competencies and, therefore, that consumers are protected from harm.

The ASPPB developed the Certificate of Professional Qualifications in Psychology (CPQ) which expedites the licensure for qualified psychologists in 45 jurisdictions. The CPQ is not a license to practice -- rather, it is recognized by Psychological Licensing Boards as an agreement that CPQ holders have received adequate and approved levels of education, supervision, and examination required for licensing. Those holding state licenses and certifications, such as CPQ, are able to practice under the licensing authority and rules and regulations of that particular state. But PSYPACT allows for licensed practitioners to ALSO practice telepsychology for clients who are in a “distant state” (one in which the psychologist does not hold a license) or to be able to provide temporary face-to-face services for no more than 30 work days per year in a state in which they are not licensed.

PSYPACT is not applicable to any psychologist who holds a license in the “home state” (i.e., location of provider) AND the “receiving/distant state” (i.e., location of client). However, for those who do wish to practice outside their state(s) of licensure, PSYPACT does apply.  And once PSYPACT becomes operational, the following will apply:

Psychologists who wish to provide telepsychology in PSYPACT states that accept the E.Passport will be required to complete the following:

  • Maintain an unencumbered license in at least one PSYPACT state.
  • Apply for and obtain the ASPPB “E.Passport” and pay associated fees.
  • Notify ASPPB and PSYPACT Commission of telepsychological practice in each PSYPACT state.
  • Complete required continuing education.
  • Renew the E.Passport annually.

Psychologists who wish to conduct temporary in-person, face-to-face services in a state in which they are NOT licensed and in a jurisdiction where the IPC is accepted will be required to complete the following:

  • Maintain an unencumbered license in an ASPPB jurisdiction
  • Apply for and obtain the ASPPB Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate (IPC) and pay associated fees.
  • Notify ASPPB and PSYPACT Commission of temporary face-to-face practice in each PSYPACT state.
  • Renew the IPC annually.

As of November 2019, the process of defining By Laws and Rules and the formal process and application for the E.Passport or IPC are still underway. Specifically, a quick guide to E.Passport and a quick guide to IPC. In order to receive up-to-date information about the status of PSYPACT, please visit their website or you may join their listserv by emailing.