The countdown for psychologists to practice under the Psychology Interjurisdicitional Compact (PSYPACT) is nearly over.
The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) has set July 1, 2020, as the tentative date to apply for the program, which gives licensed psychologists the opportunity to practice telepsychology or temporary face-to-face work across state lines in states that have approved PSYPACT legislation.
Janet Orwig, MBA, CAE, executive director of PSYPACT, anticipates that psychologists will begin practicing under PSYPACT by August.
“I’d like to say it’ll take us under a month to issue an approval once someone has applied,” she said. The wait could be longer if demand is great, she said.
Right now, psychologists interested in practicing under PSYPACT can begin the process by banking their credentials with ASPPB so they’re easily accessible once applications are being accepted, Orwig said.
“We’ve offered that for years for free and then you’ll be ready when we open up the application process,” she said.
To practice under PSYPACT, psychologists must complete a two-step process.
In February, ASPPB finalized requirements for the first step: the E. Passport, needed to practice telepsychology through PSYPACT or the Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate, for those who want to work face-to-face under PSYPACT. Each requires that the applicant have a current and active psychology license in a PSYPACT state and have no disciplinary action listed on any psychology license. The applicant’s degree must be from a school that has specified accreditation and the license must be based on a doctoral degree.
Psychologists applying for the E. Passport also must complete the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) with a specified passing score.
Those who obtain an E. Passport or Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate then can complete the second step in the process: requesting an Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology (APIT) or a Temporary Authorization to Practice (TAP) from the PSYPACT Commission.
TAP will allow the psychologist to practice for 30 days a year per PSYPACT state.
An APIT will be in effect for an unlimited time period as long as the E.Passport annual renewal fee, currently $100, is paid.
A first-year fee to practice telepsychology across state lines is $440. The initial fee for temporary practice is $240, with an annual renewal of $50.
As of press time, 12 states had enacted legislation to become part of PSYPACT. Those are Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Fourteen other states had pending legislation regarding PSYPACT as of press time.
Orwig predicts more states will pass PSYPACT legislation after the program is up and running.
PSYPACT has been a long time coming. In 2013, the ASPPB set up a task force to research having an interjurisdictional compact for telepsychology. As a result, an outline for the compact was developed, including the rule that it could not become effective until at least seven states signed on.
In 2016, Arizona became the first state to enact PSYPACT legislation. Georgia became the seventh state in 2019, which triggered the formation of the PSYPACT commission. A representative from each PSYPACT state makes up the commission.
Orwig said PSYPACT will keep statistical data on how many psychologists have been approved for PSYPACT. Based on other licensing compacts between states, she expects about 5 percent of the nation’s psychologists located in the participating PSYPACT compact states will sign up for PSYPACT practice. That’s 1,500 to 1,700 people, she said.