Preserve telehealth coverage for pre-licensed mental & behavioral health therapists
Expanding telehealth services to include provision for post-graduate, pre-licensed healthcare professionals under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional, is imperative for the continuation of safe and effective behavioral and mental health treatment during the time of COVID-19. In all professional disciplines of behavioral and mental healthcare, there is an extended period of post-graduate professional supervised experience preceding licensure, during which a therapist practices under the supervision of a fully licensed therapist. Current Tennessee law excludes these post-graduate and pre-licensed therapists from practicing therapy utilizing telehealth. Telehealth is the only form of behavioral and mental healthcare delivery specifically excluded from the scope of practice for post-graduate, pre-licensed therapists. Without an extension of Executive Order 36, 9.2 after 8/29/20, all pre-licensed therapists will be forced to see their clients in person.
The behavioral and mental health treatment services provided by post-graduate, pre-licensed therapists, is an essential aspect of behavioral and mental health treatment delivery in our state. Without them, thousands of Tennesseans would not have access to mental health treatment. Throughout this pandemic, post-graduate, pre-licensed therapists have been providing much needed behavioral and mental healthcare to Tennesseans. The demand for mental health services is only increasing during this unprecedented time, as Tennesseans suffer from the many ways COVID-19 has impacted life. Additionally, many therapists, clients, and patients who do not meet COVID safety screening criteria at any given time, will be unable to provide or receive routine mental health care during those periods of time. With increased risk of exposure, also comes increased illness among providers and patients.
Please call or email the Governor’s office today to ask him to allow the continued use of TELEHEALTH for pre-licensed therapists. Use the script below to reach out to him via phone or email.
You can send emails here: firstname.lastname@example.org or to https://www.tn.gov/governor/contact-us.html or call (615) 741-2001
Hello, my name is ________________ and I’m a mental/behavioral health therapist in Tennessee.
Thank you, Governor Lee, for issuing Executive Order 36 section 9.2. This has allowed me (or my supervisee) to continue practicing via telehealth as a way of helping my clients with mental health treatment during this unusually difficult time. I’m contacting you now to ask for an extension of executive order 36, section9.2 to allow for the continued utilization of telehealth for post degree, pre-licensed mental and behavioral health therapists. If we do not have an extension of the executive order, many of our professionals who work with clients as pre-licensed therapists will lose the ability to utilize this delivery model, and access to care for thousands of Tennesseans across the state will be jeopardized. I urge you to support clients and mental health providers by extending executive order 36, section 9.2 today. Thank you!