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Can You Do a Video Visit With a Therapist in Another State?

Kelsey Tyler

Increased demand for mental healthcare, coupled with a surge in people relocating, has created a scenario where it makes sense for patients to wonder if they can do teletherapy with providers based in other states. 

 “From a continuity of care perspective, it is important that there be a legal mechanism providing some flexibility for psychologists to see their patients where they are,” says Deborah Baker, director of legal and regulatory policy at the American Psychological Association

Whether a patient can see an out-of-state provider for tele-therapy depends on the therapist’s licensure and the patient’s location. Currently, there aren’t any federal laws allowing therapists to practice telehealth across state lines. That means, in most cases, a therapist would have to be licensed in a patient’s state of residence. For example, say you live in New York. If a California-based therapist happens to be licensed in New York State, they could work with you. If not, you’d have to find someone who is.

There are exceptions, depending on where you live. In response to the pandemic, some governors issued emergency orders relaxing licensure requirements in order to increase access to mental health services for residents. In March, for example, Rhode Island announced that it would allow out-of-state therapists apply for 90-day licenses to treat residents via telehealth. How long will relaxed teletherapy rules stay in effect? It varies, Baker says, and likely depends on the state of the pandemic and local demand for mental health services. New Jersey’s waiver of licensure requirements, for instance, is expected to last through December 2020.

If you’re hoping to book a video visit with an out-of-state therapist, you can learn about the current policies in your state via the American Psychological Association.

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