Strengthening IDENTITY | Preserving INTEGRITY | Advocating PARITY
I have been getting many questions about current rules for LCSWs practicing telemental health in states where they are not licensed. This used to be much simpler than it is now; pre-COVID most states did not allow an LCSW who was not licensed in the same state as the patient to practice there. These rules were determined by state Boards and there is no national policy at this time. There are some bills in Congress that would supersede state laws and rules, if they passed, about the ability to practice across state lines.
Since the pandemic began in earnest last March there have been many changes to state rules. If you wish to practice across state lines, I recommend consulting the following up-to-date guide about this topic which has been developed by the University of Pennsylvania and University of Texas which covers all mental health disciplines: https://utexas.app.box.com/s/r797qp7woupga5x65yob0ki2u7mbd84y/file/647374529609 . It is in Excel format and should be downloaded to read more easily. You should be aware of the rules in the state where your prospective client is a resident as well as knowing emergency services. Additionally, you should keep in mind that the telemental health coverage that currently exists will possibly be eliminated when the State of Emergency ends. Having a plan for how to manage the treatment around this possibility is part of good clinical practice.
Be sure you have changed your Informed Consent forms to include information about how to file complaints in your state and the state of the patient in addition to following the rules about practicing across state lines. This typically would include providing links to the social work Board of the state in which you are licensed and the social work Board where the patient is located.
Let me know if you have any questions about practicing telemental health across state lines.
Laura W. Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
PO Box 10Garrisonville, Virginia 22463